Asphalt and cold weather

Effects of Cold Weather on Asphalt

We all know that the cold Calgary winters can sometimes get a little extreme. Asphalt and cold weather don’t necessarily mix well and wet, freezing weather can dramatically shorten an asphalt pavement or driveway’s useable life. Luckily, with the right knowledge, planning, and proper maintenance, you can help your asphalt stay in great shape for years to come.

To help you ensure your asphalt lasts the winter, we’ll be going through the effects of cold weather on asphalt and what can be done to protect it.

Asphalt and Cold Weather

The main cause of cold weather damage to asphalt is moisture. When it’s first laid and sealed, asphalt is essentially waterproof thanks to the oils used in asphalt sealers and mixes. But without proper maintenance, the asphalt’s seal and topcoat eventually wear away and the surface becomes more susceptible to water damage.

With all the snow and hail winter brings along with it, moisture and precipitation can gradually seep into poorly maintained asphalt and cause cracks to form. Moreover, with a lack of sunshine to dry things out, water tends to pool in these cracks and eventually freezes — and that’s where the real damage is done.   

Asphalt and Freezing Temperatures

Freezing temperatures can cause water trapped in cracks and under asphalt surfaces to freeze. In turn, the freezing water expands and widens these cracks, significantly damaging the asphalt surface in the process. As the larger cracks go through the same cycle of freezing and expansion, the asphalt surface gradually crumbles away, exposing the subbase to the elements. If you’re lucky, you’ll be faced with a few minor repairable potholes. If left unchecked, however, water can seep further into the subbase, constantly freezing, expanding, cracking, and crumbling until the only solution is to completely remove and replace the existing pavement.

Fortunately for you, we at Holloway Paving use commercial-grade hot mix asphalt for all our asphalt paving projects and a hot pour rubberized filler when filling cracks to minimize the effects cold weather has on asphalt.

Hot-Mix Asphalt in Calgary                                                

Hot-mix asphalt is commonly used in areas that go through extreme temperature changes throughout the year, like Calgary. Designed to withstand these extreme temperatures, hot-mix asphalt is the most durable type of asphalt and holds up better to freezing and thawing than other types. Hot-mix asphalt is also more resistant to road salt and readily absorbs heat, allowing it to melt ice and snow quicker. This, in turn, helps minimize any damage caused by freezing water seeping through cracks.

Protecting Your Asphalt from Cold Weather

There’s a number of things you can do to protect your asphalt from cold weather. For starters, ensure you shovel your asphalt surfaces regularly, since getting rid of excess snow prevents moisture and precipitation from seeping through. Pay special attention to any areas where water seems to pool and check them or have a professional asphalt contractor assess them for any signs of cracks or wear. Be sure to have any cracks or potholes repaired as soon as possible.

By far, the best way to protect your asphalt from cold weather is to have it laid and regularly maintained by a reliable contractor. Contact Holloway Paving today to find out more about what we can do to protect your asphalt from cold weather and get a free quote on any of our services.

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