Midwestern Weather and its Effects on Asphalt Pavement

Midwestern Weather and its Effects on Asphalt Pavement

Louisville and Southern Indiana have recently experienced major changes in weather with air temperatures ranging from the low 20’s to the 70’s in January.  At Libs Paving, we have almost 50 years of experiences working in Southern Indiana and Metro Louisville’s fluctuating climate, and we understand the things you should consider when it comes to protecting your asphalt pavement.  

Low Temperature, Precipitation & Asphalt Stability

As the temperatures fluctuate throughout the season, it can have an impact on your asphalt pavement.  Low temperatures and water are the two biggest threats to asphalt pavement during the wintertime.  Extreme low temperatures can lead to asphalt contraction and shrinkage. As the asphalt begins to contract and shrink, it creates tension within the asphalt trying to push and pull away from itself. 

When tension becomes unbearable, that is when the cracks you see begin to develop to relieve the tension within. When we get major changes in air temperature where it rapidly decreases, the asphalt starts to contract quicker causing the tension to build faster. 

Freezing and Thawing 

Another winter threat is freezing water. Cold weather and the freezing and thawing that occurs, will cause damage when the asphalt surface has existing surface or sub-base damage.  When freezing water from winter participation gets trapped beneath the pavement it freezes and expands causing the ground to heave. This is not ideal for your parking lot, roadway or driveway.  Expanding water can cause damage to asphalt pavement in the form of expanding cracks and crumbling. A compromised asphalt surface can break apart, leading to potholes. To help combat some of the challenges of our local weather, Libs Paving’s hot mix asphalt, has been engineered specifically to withstand freezing and thawing cycles.

Preventative maintenance steps to protect your asphalt pavement, like regular sealcoating applications and crack filling, can truly eliminate most damage that can occur. Cold weather and freeze / thaw cycles start to cause damage when the asphalt surface has existing surface or sub-base damage. As water expands, it can intensify minor problems and when snow melts, it can get under the sub-base and comprise the structural integrity of the pavement. That is why it is so important to ensure that your asphalt is installed by a licensed professional with experience creating custom asphalt mixes designed to withstand our regions weather.  

Proper Installation 

Finding the right contractor for your project is truly important!  Beyond customer service, finding the right paving contractor can mean the difference in your asphalt enduring harsh and changing temperatures and asphalt that cannot. The integrity of your asphalt pavement is dependent upon good installation, specifically the proper installation of the right sub-base.  This supports the asphalt and helps to prevent movement, sinking and cracking and is essential to achieving proper results and extending the longevity of the asphalt pavement. By producing our own asphalt, we can control exactly what goes into our materials. Beginning at asphalt production, the Libs team embraces full control of your project from start to finish, leaving customers with custom asphalt solutions. 

Has the winter weather affected your asphalt?  Give Libs a call and get on our schedule early!

Request An Estimate