What to Expect from Asphalt Deterioration This Winter

by | Dec 21, 2017

Whereas asphalt is a remarkably durable material, there is bound to be a certain degree of deterioration throughout its lifespan. This can certainly be attributed to the sheer amount of weight paved surfaces typically endure from traffic, but nature and the elements are also contributing factors.

Sure, there is a certain degree of asphalt damage that can happen during the other seasons—and restoration primarily takes place in the spring and summer—but the main time of year for asphalt deterioration happens during the winter (or as the result of winter weather).

We’ve previously discussed how freeze/thaw cycles can be so problematic for your parking lot or driveway and how water seeping into cracks can lead to even larger cracks. Something we hadn’t mentioned yet with regard to winter damage for paved surfaces that tends to affect roadways more often – and this is the extra weight from city plows and heavy winter tires.

Now, the additional weight probably wouldn’t be as much of a consideration if not for the fact that falling temperatures and increased precipitation (which is obviously snow here in West Michigan) cause the ground to be softer than it otherwise would be. Cold weather causes most things to contract—there are exceptions to this and we’ll explain a pretty significant one in just a second—which means more space between the elements making up the asphalt. Since everything isn’t quite as tight as it normally would be, the surface can be thought of as “softer” (or at least less durable to a certain degree).

This softening is clearly not to the point the asphalt doesn’t hold it up, but it does play a role in deterioration during these winter months.

As noted, there are exceptions to the whole “things contract in cold temperatures” rule of physics – and water is a fairly significant one. You can easily see this at play when you fill up the ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. Maybe you’ve never really noticed, but the ice cubes take up more space than the water that had been poured into the tray.

Even though we won’t hit “beach weather” until around June (maybe May, but let’s be realistic…), temperatures in our West Michigan winter still rise enough to get over the freezing point. When they do, snow and ice melt. The resulting water finds its way into cracks and crevices. As the sun starts to fall, temperatures drop again and the water expands as it freezes into ice. This puts a bit of strain on the asphalt and creates additional room to let even more water in during the next thaw cycle.

The whole pattern continues until the end of spring, at which point you should give our team at Stripe A Lot a call for a FREE estimate to repair your lot or driveway. When you do, you can take comfort in the fact we aren’t going to sell you on anything you don’t need. Even better, we are the only one-stop paving shop on Lakeshore. That means you only have to deal with us and don’t need to worry about contacting a sub-contractor to handle any facet of the job.

For more information on the services we provide—or to reserve your spring or summer job right now—give us a call at 1-800-BLACKTOP (or 616-772-2559).

Asphalt that looks great and lasts longer.

Faded and cracked asphalt creates a bad impression. And knowing the best way to fix it can be confusing.

Stripe A Lot knows how to get your asphalt to look great and last longer.

Asphalt that looks great and lasts longer.

Faded and cracked asphalt creates a bad impression. And knowing the best way to fix it can be confusing. Stripe A Lot knows how to get your asphalt to look great and last longer.

Stripe A Lot Asphalt Maintenance Logo

Faded and cracked asphalt creates a bad impression. And knowing the best way to fix it can be confusing. Stripe A Lot knows how to get your asphalt to look great and last longer.

Stripe A Lot Asphalt Maintenance LLC
10728 Paw Paw Dr, Holland, MI 49424
(616) 772-2559

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