How Cold Weather Affects Asphalt

Snow shovel

Now that winter is here, it is time to prepare for the dangers that come with it. Unless you properly maintain your asphalt, it will be in great danger this winter. Here’s how cold weather affects asphalt and what you need to do about it!

Is asphalt affected by temperature?

Despite what you may have thought, the snow and the ice that comes with winter are not the biggest threat to your asphalt. Instead, the temperature poses the greatest danger to your pavement. As the temperature drops, your asphalt will start to contract and shrink. This shrinkage causes a large amount of tension to build in your pavement. Cracks will appear when the tension becomes too much for the asphalt to handle.

Another thing you will have to watch out for this winter is the frozen water that will appear under your pavement. Water tends to get underneath your asphalt surface, which is normally not the end of the world; however, if the water freezes, the ground is going to heave. Heaving occurs when something below your pavement’s surface causes it to lift. This creates an uneven surface and weakens your asphalt’s foundation. If your pavement does not have proper drainage, you will encounter this problem once the temperatures drop.

Can you pave asphalt in the winter?

Although it is possible to pave asphalt in the winter, it is not recommended. Suppose damages are too big to repair with cold-mix, then waiting until spring is your best option. Unfortunately, this choice is not always available. If you expect a large amount of traffic over the holidays or your driveway is undrivable, paving may be your only choice. If this happens, you will have to wait until the temperature gets high enough to lay down hot-mix asphalt. Cold-mix asphalt needs to be more sturdy to be laid down as a driveway. Because of that, a hot mix is necessary for the paving process.

Hot-mix asphalt must be anywhere between 185 – 220 degrees before being laid down. The colder weather causes the hot mix’s temperature to drop very quickly, meaning that there is little time to pave it once mixed. Picking a day when the temperature is higher is necessary if you want to pave in the winter.

How long does it take for asphalt to cure in cold weather?

Asphalt completely cures in warm temperatures and takes 48 – 72 hours. Keeping that in mind, it takes roughly a week for asphalt to cure in colder temperatures. Because of this, you must refrain from driving or putting your pavement under any strain during this time. Getting a professional’s help to make this process run smoothly is recommended. Doing so ensures that no foundational issues will appear while your asphalt is curing.

Have More Questions?

Weaver Construction has the experience and expertise to help you create beautiful, functional asphalt pavement spaces that will last for years. We are a family-owned and operated business that takes pride in our work. We use only the highest quality materials and equipment to ensure that your paving project is done right the first time. Contact Weaver Construction today for a free estimate on your next asphalt paving project.


Walt's Paving

You can count on Walt’s Paving to complete your residential or commercial paving project in an efficient and timely manner. We have over 40 years of experience paving asphalt driveways, making asphalt repairs, and sealcoating asphalt. We are located in Osceola IN and service homeowners and businesses within 50 miles of Elkhart IN.

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