Over time, asphalt experiences a degree of weathering due to the seasonal changes in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas. Asphalt surfaces can experience damage from harsh sunlight, heavy rain, and temperature changes that cause freezing or thawing.
Although much of the damage may occur during the extreme summer and winter seasons, fall and spring conditions can make asphalt vulnerable to the elements.
Below, we explore how asphalt reacts to weather conditions all year long.
Winter Threats to Asphalt
Wintertime might be filled with a lot of holidays and celebrations, but it can pose some risks to your asphalt.
The winters in the Twin Cities are notably rough, so you'll want to be aware of how the snow, ice, and cold can impact the asphalt.
The most notable threat to asphalt during the winter is the sub-zero temperatures. Minnesota experiences temperatures of -30°F or lower.
The severe drop in temperature can cause a significant contraction in the material and lead to rigidity and cracks.
Snow and Ice Build Up
Moisture trapped in cracks or below the pavement will freeze once the temperature falls below 32°F. Water expands when it freezes and causes the asphalt to split.
Freezing water also causes the ground to heave or uplift due to the expansion. This reaction can create cracks or potholes in the asphalt.
The best way to combat these problems is to develop an asphalt maintenance program and ensure proper drainage techniques are in place.
Spring might generally be a reprieve from the intensity of winter, but there are still ways the springtime weather can damage your asphalt.
As the winter snow and ice melt in the springtime, the ground starts to thaw. This melting process, combined with the spring rain, saturates the asphalt and the ground underneath. An abundance of moisture can form puddles in existing cracks or potholes in the asphalt.
The excess moisture can cause gradual deterioration if the water saturates the asphalt for an extended period of time. Even in sloped roads or parking lots, water can flow over the surface for several days at a time as the ice melts slowly and the spring brings the rainy season.
You can protect the pavement by cracksealing as soon as you notice cracks in the surface of the pavement. You can also patch the potholes to prevent water from penetrating any exposed areas.
Puddles on your asphalt parking lot or driveway might not seem like a big deal, but they are usually unpleasant to look at and can deteriorate the asphalt more over time.
Puddles usually occur because of regular wear and tear, and they can also arise as the solid under the asphalt moves. However, puddles can be fixed with regular maintenance, so reach out to Bituminous Roadways to learn more.
Summer Weather and Asphalt Risks
While winters here can be extremely cold and snowy, the summer also gets rather hot. And, as the temperatures rise, you’ll want to watch your asphalt for signs of damage.
Ultraviolet (UV) oxidation causes a slower form of deterioration in asphalt pavement during the summer.
Asphalt is made of a combination of light and heavy oils. UV and oxygen in the air cause light oils to form into heavy oils.
The heavier oils cause the asphalt to be more brittle and, therefore, more likely to crack.
In the summer, you’ve likely seen asphalt start to slough or make pits. If the asphalt is constantly under high pressure or in heavy use, the high heat is even more likely to cause damage.
As temperatures in the summer get more intense, it’s important to ensure that the asphalt is well-maintained. If potholes arise, make sure they are addressed right away.
Overall, autumn might seem like a time when asphalt wouldn’t be impacted, but rain can be a problem.
Rain levels increase during the autumn season. The ongoing contact with standing or flowing water can cause the same asphalt deterioration as it does in the springtime. Rain can wear down the top layer, causing small pieces of asphalt to erode a little at a time.
While the Fall season may be the easiest time of the year on asphalt, the surface has endured the freezing winter, the thawing spring, and the hot summer. Any additional water in the fall can accelerate the deterioration even more.
Autumn is also among the busiest times of the year for pavement construction companies. Ongoing rain during the season can sometimes delay projects into the following spring.
Asphalt Pavement Services in Minneapolis
Bituminous Roadways, Inc. provides superior asphalt paving solutions for parking lots, trails, apartment complexes, and roadways in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas.
For more information about asphalt maintenance, asphalt paving, asphalt materials, or to get an estimate, please contact Bituminous Roadways at 651-686-7001 or send a message on our contact page.