Asphalt is one of the most durable and resilient paving materials in the world, but even it can’t completely withstand all of the harsh weather conditions and elements that it’s exposed to during the winter months. Canadian winters are particularly harsh on asphalt pavement with heavy snowfalls, frigid below-freezing temperatures, and massive ice formations. Failing to administer proper asphalt maintenance throughout the year can limit your asphalt pavement’s functionality and longevity while also prematurely diminishing its appearance.
Despite the fact that Canada is already in the thick of its winter season, that doesn’t mean you can’t still protect your asphalt from the elements. In fact, learning about the impact that snow and cold weather has on your asphalt pavement is half the battle. The other half, of course, is devising and implementing a feasible plan of action to continuously protect your asphalt.
What Are the Effects of Wet Winter Weather on Your Asphalt?
Regardless of the external temperature, moisture collection is bad for your asphalt pavement. Over time, pooling water will erode the surface of your asphalt pavement and weaken or compromise its structural integrity. Combine this with the constant freeze-thaw cycle of frigid temperatures during the winter months, and this could spell trouble with a capital T for your asphalt.
Fluctuating temperatures can loosen or damage the binding agents in your asphalt, causing minor or major cracking throughout. Eventually, moisture and other debris will penetrate through those cracks and cause even more separation in the subgrade. Patching cracks is a lot more challenging in the winter time because of all the snow and ice, but it can be done with the help of professional asphalt pavement services.
What Is the Freeze-Thaw Cycle?
As mentioned, fluctuating temperatures that take place during seasonal transitions and even throughout the same season have a big impact on the health of your asphalt pavement. To go into further detail, water expands when it freezes. This is bad for your asphalt parking lot because when frozen water expands, it can cause crack formations in your pavement.
With continued use over time, not to mention additional weight from heavy snow deposits and ice formations, eventually the asphalt will begin to break apart. Cracks will continue to expand and eventually form potholes, which will only allow more moisture and debris to penetrate the surface of the asphalt and cause extensive internal structural damages. Not only are the repairs for these damages extremely expensive, but the longer you wait, the more your commercial parking lot becomes a liability for your business.
What Types of Damages Do You Need to Look For?
The two most obvious signs of potential damage to your asphalt are different types of crack formations and pooling water. Crack formations signify that there may be some deeper structural issues that need to be addressed like poor construction or a weak foundation. The weight of heavy snow, ice, and water on the surface of the asphalt can worsen the problem by adding more pressure on the structure.
Pooling water is also problematic because it signifies that for one reason or another, water runoff isn’t being properly drained from your property. If you notice a lot of small or large puddles throughout your parking lot, then you should check that the catch basin isn’t damaged and that it’s working properly. Sometimes, debris can get caught in your drainage system and block water from filtering through. Another reason that pooling water is a problem for your asphalt is that it eventually breaks down the binding components of your pavement and forces them to break apart.
If the structure of your asphalt pavement is already weak, then pooling water will just weaken it more and depressions and dips will form in areas where water is collecting most abundantly.
Hiring a licensed and experienced local asphalt pavement contractor can ensure that your commercial property is well maintained and boost its aesthetic appeal along with its functionality.
Why Is Proper Subbase Installation Important?
Simply put, the subbase is the foundation of your asphalt parking lot. And if the foundation is weak to begin with or improperly installed, then your property will be doomed from the very beginning. Aside from professional installation and the use of the right materials and equipment during the installation phase, asphalt also requires a commitment to regular maintenance throughout the year.
Be sure to make repairs as needed, regardless of how minor or seemingly inconsequential the damages may be. Patch or fill small crack formations as soon as you notice or hire a professional asphalt contractor to do it for you. Also, take the time to sealcoat your asphalt parking lot at least once every 2-3 years to prevent it from incurring otherwise preventable damages. Sealcoating adds a fantastic protective layer to your asphalt that’ll maximize its functionality, boost its overall appearance, and save you a great deal of money in potentially cost-prohibitive repairs.
The better care you take of your asphalt pavement, the more you’ll get out of it and the less money you’ll have to spend in the long run on repairs. But it all starts with a strong foundation, so always make sure to hire professional local asphalt pavement services.
Use Salt and Deicing Agents Only as Needed
Many commercial property owners make the grave mistake of over-salting or deicing their asphalt parking lots during the winter months. Keep in mind that the weather patterns and temperatures change on a daily. That means that you’re going to have some days where you get heavy snowfalls and other days where you get none at all.
Winter salt and deicing agents are full of corrosive chemicals. While they’re highly effective at melting away large amounts of snow and ice, they’re also not the most environmentally friendly solution and they can start to eat away at your asphalt. Salt and deicing applications should therefore be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.
Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. provides premier asphalt pavement services across Toronto and the GTA at an affordable price. For over 20 years, we’ve been the go-to asphalt contractor in Toronto. We take great pride in the quality of our services and stand by our work, which is why we offer a comprehensive seven-year warranty. Contact us today to learn more!