Asphalt is an extremely strong material, but that does not mean it’s immune to seasonal weakness and damage. In fact, as durable as asphalt is, it’s actually very sensitive to both hot and cold temperatures. Take care of your asphalt surfaces through asphalt resurfacing, repairs and regular maintenance—especially during times of sudden weather changes.
If you are continuing with an asphalt pavement project through the winter months or planning to start one soon, read on. Below is a look at how the cold winter weather affects asphalt paving in Santa Rosa, CA and the ways temperatures can cause delays for your project.
Cold temperatures and asphalt
Winter weather conditions vary a lot from place to place throughout the United States. However, construction projects like road or other surface paving must go on, and they do year-round, whether it’s during a hot summer or a cold winter. It’s important to understand how wintertime conditions can slow your asphalt paving project to a crawl—for starters, while some places experience heavy snowstorms every winter, others regularly deal with bitterly cold air both day and night. While it doesn’t snow here in Santa Rosa, we do get rain and chilly air every winter.
When winter temperatures approach or drop below freezing, even the highest quality asphalt can run into problems. That’s because freezing occurs both below and above the asphalt layers. The result of this type of freezing pattern is cracks. If cracks are not taken care of quickly, rainwater can get down inside, freeze, expand and make the damage worse.
Cold weather can change plans
There are some obvious reasons why a cold winter can slow down your asphalt project. Depending on where you live, temperatures may drop so low that the ground freezes solid. Although paving machinery is manufactured to take on hard ground, frozen earth takes longer to break through, making it much more difficult to work with. There’s also the risk of accidental damage to already existing pavement surrounding the project area, like spreading cracks or breakage.
As for mild wintertime rain and moisture, your asphalt installation team may be able to work in these conditions without much difficulty. But the fact of the matter is that too much water can change the makeup of the asphalt material so it’s not as strong as it should be. Whether the asphalt is still fresh or is cracked when rain begins to fall, the water that penetrates the asphalt may cause serious issues later on, including structural loss and erosion. The asphalt and aggregates are likely to break off because the bond holding the rock, stone and other aggregates together is broken.
For these reasons, your asphalt company may suggest halting an asphalt project until the cold weather has passed. Not only will waiting until good weather returns ensure a more successful asphalt project, it will also save you money in maintenance and repairs in the long run.
For more information about paving projects that require asphalt in Santa Rosa, CA, don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable team at Sikes Asphalt Group Inc.
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