Asphalt is a strong, hard-wearing material used for roads, driveways, parking lots, and airfields. Although it is carefully engineered to endure immense weight and constant traffic, it can be damaged when subjected to severe circumstances. If you’re wondering how asphalt can be affected by environmental stressors, here’s a brief overview.
How Temperature & Weather Can Impact Asphalt
As snow melts, it makes its way to any crevices in the surface and causes further cracking as it freezes. Furthermore, if used in excess, deicer salts can corrode the asphalt. Whenever possible, it’s best to plow or shovel the snow from the asphalt.
Excessive rainfall can damage asphalt in 2 ways: through freezing and erosion. If there are any fractures on the surface, the water fills those spaces. Once it freezes, it expands, and the cracks widen. Eventually, potholes form. As for erosion, this is a slower effect that ultimately results in a rougher surface.
As you may have guessed, exceedingly cold temperatures are the biggest threat to an asphalt paved surface and the biggest contributor to potholes. The cycle of freezing and thawing causes the most issues, especially if it fluctuates very quickly. If water thaws but doesn’t get a chance to drain or evaporate before freezing again, it only sinks deeper into a crack and widens it.
Although the cold is the primary cause of asphalt problems, rising temperatures can also lead to expansion. Newly paved and properly coated asphalt can handle extreme heat, but once cracks start appearing, the damage is inevitable. Gaps of air start to form underneath the surface; when these areas are met with extreme pressure and weight, they’ll sag and form divots. If these are ignored by the time winter rolls around, the little indentations eventually give way to potholes too.
If you’re in Montana’s Flathead Valley and need any type of asphalt repair, contact PaveCo. Based in Kalispell, this experienced and reliable asphalt paving contractor serves both residents and businesses. So, whether you’re a homeowner who needs sealcoating on their driveway or you own a commercial space with a parking lot that needs to be patched up, they’re the ones to trust. If you have any questions, feel free to call them at (406) 752-0051. They offer free estimates, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!