For many people, winter is the most delightful season of all. For your asphalt parking lot, however, winter can be the cruelest season that it will face. It is not at all uncommon for property owners to be shocked by the amount of damage that their parking lots incurred between autumn and spring. Understanding how winter weather can affect your asphalt pavement can help you minimize winter’s impact.
How Winter Weather Can Affect Your Asphalt Pavement – The Elements
One of the worst things for your asphalt pavement is the repeated cycles of freezing and thawing that can occur during the winter. Asphalt contracts and expands as temperatures fluctuate, and as long as no water penetration occurs, your pavement should survive the winter in good shape. However, if there are cracks in the pavement, water penetration can occur. When the water freezes, it expands, exerting upward pressure on the pavement and eroding the base supporting the pavement. When a thaw occurs, an empty space may be left between the pavement and its base, allowing the pavement to sag, and the flowing water can damage the base even more.
• Results: Larger cracks, potholes, depressions in the pavement, alligator cracking
• Prevention: Have all pavement breaks professionally repaired before the first freeze
Experienced snowplow operators can clear your parking lot without causing any damage. Inexperienced ones, however, can set the blade too low, resulting in gouges in the pavement.
• Results: In addition to marring the pavement’s appearance, tearing out chunks of asphalt can give water another way to penetrate beneath the pavement
• Prevention: Hire a professional who has experience with the machine that will be used to clear your parking lot
Chemicals Used to Melt Ice
Chemical deicers and salt can take a heavy toll on asphalt that is already beginning to deteriorate as well as asphalt pavement that is not protected by sealcoating. Traditional rock salt usually will not be effective at temperatures below 15 degrees, increasing the chances of water penetration when the melted ice refreezes and thaws again.
• Results: Larger cracks, potential alligator cracking, potholes
• Prevention: If you must use a deicing chemical, consider choosing calcium magnesium acetate, calcium chloride or magnesium chloride. If possible, use sand instead.
If your asphalt parking lot is in good condition going into winter, you are unlikely to face any serious issues next spring. However, if your parking lot is riddled with potholes and open cracks, you could end up with a major repair bill.
To learn more about how to minimize the potential for damages to your parking lot over the winter, contact Asphalt Pavement Solutions. Since 1983, we have been providing asphalt maintenance services to customers throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Our services include sealcoating, asphalt repair, asphalt paving, parking lot markings, bollards, car stops and inlet repair. We are asphalt contractors that delivers high-quality work at competitive rates. To receive a free estimate, submit the convenient online form or call us at 1-800-559-SEAL or 1-856-461-1710.