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How Different Weather Affects Asphalt Pavement

August 13, 2019

How Different Weather Affects Asphalt Pavement

There are very few things in this world that are impervious to weather. Extreme weather events cause massive damage to people’s homes and the environment. Day-to-day weather is destructive too. Ultraviolet rays from the sun bombard surfaces slowly and take a toll on anything not protected. Rain, frost, and fluctuating temperatures also affect your driveway’s pavement. Different seasons and weather affects asphalt pavement in different ways.



The spring thaw presents a lot of challenges for asphalt. As the snow and ice from winter melts, the resulting water pools in low spots on the pavement; this water slowly degrades the asphalt as it sits. The earth under the pavement also begins to thaw, and that water saturates the soil beneath, which can lead to heave and cause large cracks and holes. With the spring thaw, a rainy season also starts, and more water will find and fill every crack, weakening the pavement.



The onset of summer means less rain and more time to dry out. More sunshine, though, means the asphalt is exposed to more ultraviolet rays, which creates oxidation. UV rays oxidize the pavement, and so the light oils in the asphalt join together and make heavier oils. Those oils make the asphalt brittle and more likely to crack.



Fall is the best time of year for sealcoating professionals to work, thanks to the cooler temperatures. Sealcoating helps maintain a smooth surface, which has been found to lengthen the life of pavement by 10 to 25 percent. While fall is the best time to sealcoat, there is an increase in rainfall during this time. This can threaten a professional’s ability to work because wet pavement can’t be sealed. The water can get trapped underneath the falling leaves and keep the pavement constantly wet if the leaves aren’t removed.



Fluctuating wintertime temperatures are the biggest threat to asphalt pavement. Extreme low temperatures will cause asphalt to shrink and contract, and this causes tension in the asphalt as it tries to pull apart. Cracks will begin to form as the asphalt releases the tension. If temperatures fall quickly, the cracking will become more severe. Freezing water in the cracks and under the pavement will expand and cause frost heave, which further breaks apart the pavement.

Asphalt suppliers, like NAC Supply, are aware of the different challenges weather can impose on asphalt. We can offer a more in-depth explanation, and we’ll be happy to talk to you about how we can help you avoid damage to your driveway’s pavement.

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