Asphalt pavement is strong and resilient, but it’s not impervious to damage, and winter weather conditions can be especially tough on this otherwise durable surface. In many ways, asphalt is preferable to concrete pavement because it is unlikely to suffer the same damage during the winter from expansion and contraction or the use of salt as a deicer. It also absorbs heat more quickly, which means it does a better job of melting ice when the sun is out, potentially saving you from undue shoveling or the use of deicing agents.
Of course, icy conditions can still have an effect on asphalt, so it’s in your best interest to take precautions to ensure your pavement outlasts the winter. Here are just a few things you should know about the effects ice can have on your asphalt pavement.
Freezing and Thawing
When temperatures fluctuate throughout the long winter months, your asphalt could take a beating as a result. Colder temperatures bring freezing conditions and ice formation, while higher temps lead to thaw, melting, and pooling that can then freeze again later.
If the structure and design of your asphalt is sound and it was properly installed, you really shouldn’t see much damage from such conditions, but if your pavement is aging, you might want to speak with your paving professionals about whether or not repairs, sealing, or repaving might be necessary before winter weather hits.
You’re probably glad to hear that your asphalt can help to thaw snow and ice faster than concrete, weather conditions permitting. You might not be so happy when all that melted water pools on your pavement or backs up into your yard.
The good news is that this side effect is easily solved with the installation of porous asphalt designed to funnel runoff into a stone bed below and return it to the water table. This is good for your driveway or parking lot, as well as the environment.
Asphalt is durable, but it can only hold up to so much before damage is done. Snow plows are generally designed to scrape away snow and ice without damaging the road surface beneath, but if your asphalt is already in bad shape, it should come as no surprise that the uneven surface or potholes get worse from the scraping of the plow. The best way to avoid any and all damage caused by ice or ice removal during the winter months is to prepare your pavement with proper cleaning and repairs before cold weather hits.