Why Do Potholes and Cracks Form in the Winter?

paving repair TorontoAs many residential, commercial, and industrial property owners are already aware, the effects of winter weather and drastic temperature changes can be quite detrimental on your asphalt driveway or parking lot. Even if your asphalt is in decent condition in the fall with very minor damages, you’ll notice that once winter comes to an end, those seemingly minor damages have now worsened severely. That’s where a professional paving repair service in Toronto can come in handy. But first, you need to educate yourself on exactly what causes cracks and potholes to form in your asphalt and what can be done to fix these damages.

Causes of Asphalt Crack and Pothole Formation in Winter

The winter months are ripe with harmful factors that can severely damage your asphalt pavement including heavy precipitation, standing water as a result of uneven pavement, as well as the consistent freeze-thaw cycles that happen in the winter.

The following is a list of factors that can actively negatively impact your asphalt parking lot or driveway:

Snow Melt, De-Icers, and Snowplows

Snow melting and de-icing agents contain a long string of chemical ingredients that are not only harmful to the environment, but they also eat away at the structural integrity of your asphalt pavement. Potassium acetate, magnesium acetate, and salt are some of the main ingredients in most de-icing agents and all of these chemicals have the capacity to break down the surface of asphalt. To add insult to injury, snowplows coupled with regular foot and vehicle traffic can also scrape away at the surface of your asphalt.

Freeze/Thaw Cycle

Freeze/thaw cycles are incredibly harmful to your asphalt pavement and can cause pre-existing minor cracks to continue to expand. As these cracks widen, an increasing amount of debris, water, and chemicals are allowed to infiltrate the surface of your asphalt, which can further degrade the structural integrity of it internally. Water that permeates beneath the surface of your pavement can also cause erosion, which will lead to extensive and potentially expensive disrepair.

Pooling Water

Pooling or standing water poses a significant threat to the structural integrity of your asphalt if it’s not dealt with as soon as possible. Eventually, the water will begin to break down the asphalt compounds and penetrate the surface, eroding the asphalt beneath the surface as well. This can lead to severe cracking which will inevitably form potholes.

How to Prevent Cracks and Potholes in Winter

Ideally, you should be inspecting your asphalt parking lot or driveway for damages or potential damages on a regular basis, most commonly in the fall before the first snowfall. Failing that, there are a few things you can do during the winter months to either repair pre-existing damages or prevent future ones from occurring.

Clear out Ice and Snow Regularly

Neglecting your asphalt parking lot or driveway in the winter is one of the worst things you can do to it. In order to preserve and ensure that you get the absolute most out of your asphalt for as long as possible, you should remove ice and snow from it on a regular basis. Keep in mind that any driveway crack repairs in winter will be temporary and should be fully fixed once the snow melts.

Implement Surface Patching

When it comes to driveway crack repair in winter, surface patches are temporary quick fixes that you can apply when you’re in a bind. They should be strong enough to seal minor cracks and hold off further damages until the warm weather arrives. Come springtime, you should revisit these areas of your asphalt and implement proper repairs.

Cold Weather Emergency Pothole Repairs

You’re responsible for the safety of anyone who uses your property, even in the most inclement weather. That includes motorists, employees, neighbours, and even pedestrians. In order to prevent people from suffering injuries on your property in the winter, it’s important to implement temporary repairs to fill in potholes and cracks. If you’re wondering how to fix potholes in roads, there are five important steps you should take.

  1. Remove All Ice and Debris from the Affected Area: Clearing out all debris, ice, and water from the area surrounding the disrepair is imperative because these elements can get in the way of the repair and seep into the crack, causing further damages.
  2. Chisel the Edges of Crack Formations: The first step to effectively repairing a pothole or crack is to chisel the edges and create an even square or rectangular shape. This will make it much easier to fill it in and patch it up evenly.
  3. Add Additional Gravel as Required: Holes that are deeper than two inches will have diminished durability and should be filled in with as much gravel as required to guarantee that the patch-up will make it through the duration of the winter months.
  4. Apply the Cold Asphalt: Cold asphalt is ideal for crack and pothole repairs in the winter because you need to make sure that the temperature of the new aggregate matches that of the existing mixture as much as possible. This will ensure that the two aggregates work well together and prevent further cracking from occurring.
  5. Compact the Asphalt: Apply as much pressure as possible without causing cracking. Professional asphalt contractors usually use a vibrating plate to do this.

Hire Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. for Crack and Pothole Repair in Toronto

Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. has been applying and repairing residential and commercial asphalt pavements in Toronto and the GTA for more than 20 years. We take great pride in the work that we do and for that reason, we offer a comprehensive seven-year warranty on our work and only use the highest quality materials in the industry. Contact us today for all of your winter asphalt repair needs!

Photo Credit: iStock.com/MarcBruxelle