The Effects of Seasonal Changes on Asphalt Pavement

The Effects of Seasonal Changes on Asphalt PavementWith each changing season and the different weather conditions that ensue, your commercial asphalt parking lot is constantly exposed and increasingly susceptible to a wide range of potentially damaging elements. Wind, rain, snow, hail, and discarded leaves are all natural elements that can have damaging long-term effects on your asphalt. However, the application of seasonal products such as chemically-induced de-icing agents, shovels, and snow plows, can be equally harmful. Regardless of the time of year, it’s important to take the appropriate asphalt maintenance measures to protect your commercial property in Ontario from costly damages in the future.

What Types of Seasonal Changes Have a Negative Impact on Your Asphalt Parking Lot?

For one thing, simply transitioning from one season to another can have a tremendous impact on your asphalt parking lot. Drastic temperature fluctuations from hot to cold and vice versa cause the asphalt pavement to expand and contract far too quickly, which can lead to internal and external cracking. Changes in temperature tend to reduce the amount of moisture in the asphalt aggregate and this causes it to dry out. Dry asphalt cracks more easily.

However, if your asphalt retains too much moisture, then this can also have the same effect. The more water that’s allowed to seep through the surface of the asphalt, the greater the chances are that its internal structural integrity will be compromised. Cracks will continue to expand, letting in not only more water, but also pieces of debris that’ll damage it from the inside out.

Strong rain and snowfalls, not to mention constant sun exposure, throughout the year are the main culprits for potentially expensive disrepair. While you might want to take the necessary action immediately to fix these damages, it’s important to do so in the appropriate asphalt paving weather to avoid exacerbating them.

How Do Seasonal Weather Changes Affect Asphalt Pavement?

First and foremost, it’s important to take into account the amount of daily traffic your commercial parking lot gets in addition to the local weather conditions in your area on any given day. If you get a lot of vehicular and foot traffic, then your property is more likely to incur a lot of damages over time, particularly if your don’t administer proper seasonal maintenance on a regular basis. Add to that alternating weather conditions, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Here are all of the seasonal changes you can expect your asphalt to undergo throughout the year:

Winter

Canadian winters are unfortunately often unpredictable. In some cases, it can even seem like we experience all of the seasons in a single day, which can make it extremely difficult to foresee how our asphalt parking lots will be impacted. Morning forecasts might call for heavy snowfalls while afternoon forecasts might call for rain or sunshine which usually melts the snow away. So, how can you prepare for this chaos? Put a good winter asphalt maintenance plan into effect immediately. Going from hot to cold and vice versa in one fell swoop can damage your asphalt by causing it to expand and contract. If ignored, the resulting cracks will eventually become potholes and this poses potential danger for anyone who uses your property.

Using de-icing agents or coarse salt is a great way to prevent ice formations and slip-and-fall injuries or car accidents on your property, but these can also have lasting negative effects on your asphalt. They often wear down the asphalt aggregate and weaken it over time. Try to find environmentally friendly and chemical-free alternatives to melt away ice or prevent it from forming in the first place. Due to the unpredictability of weather conditions, it’s best to avoid asphalt paving during the winter.

Spring

Unfortunately, the potential damages that are caused by the winter months aren’t offset by the warmer spring climates. In fact, they can become more amplified without appropriate care. As the remaining snow and ice from winter begin to melt, it saturates the ground beneath the asphalt, causing it to become overly moisturized.

On top of that, an abundance of rainwater can slowly erode the surface and internal structure of the asphalt like a worm tunneling through soil. This opens up pockets within the aggregate for more water to pool and debris to settle. As the water continues to wear down your asphalt, more cracks and potholes will form over time. Most asphalt parking lots, roads, and driveways are sloped on an angle to prevent water from pooling on the surface and to allow for proper drainage. However, depressions created by the heavy snowfalls during the winter months prevent the water from draining. Instead, it collects in the dips and eventually erodes the asphalt. While asphalt paving during rainy season is inadvisable because you need to allow enough time for the aggregate to fully settle and dry, you should do your best to repair any cracks and minor damages before they get worse.

Summer

Summer asphalt maintenance is probably the easiest because the warm temperatures are ideal for helping the pavement dry faster. With that said, however, extensive exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun can cause oxidation, which ultimately dries out your asphalt and weakens it. Since there’s no snow covering your asphalt, though, summer is the perfect time to keep an eye out for damages and repair them immediately before the colder weather hits.

Fall

When it comes to destroying the structural durability of your asphalt parking lot, fall and spring have a lot in common: namely, the rain factor. In many parts of Ontario, rainfall increases during this time of year, which can delay fall asphalt maintenance projects. On top of that, asphalt repair in cold weather can actually be counterproductive because of the expanding and contracting that occurs naturally.

As far as asphalt maintenance companies go, Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. is one of the most prominent ones in the industry. With over 20 years of extensive experience installing, repairing, and replacing asphalt for commercial parking lots and roadways, our customers are always satisfied. Our asphalt projects are built to last and with a seven-year unlimited warranty, you can’t go wrong. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

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