As the temperature changes into winter weather, the professional paving of your parking lot is essential. While paving your parking lot might seem like a straightforward process, it contains crucial elements of chemistry and engineering. That is because just any mix of materials won’t hold up in changing conditions. The variable weather of the D.C, Maryland, and Virginia areas, which receive everything from blazing hot days to freezing temperatures, demands a precise mix of materials put down in optimal conditions.
At NVM Paving & Concrete, our professionals use a quality mix of liquid asphalt and base layers. The materials form bonds that cause aggregates to join together into quality asphalt. Over time, due to pressures from the weather, this bond weakens.
The Impact of Heat
During the hot summer months, direct sunlight and heat can cause the surface of a parking lot to expand. Once this happens, cracks begin to develop, which can lead to significant issues. As cracks widen, water will enter and penetrate the subsurface layer of asphalt, and the added moisture erodes the materials and destroys the integrity of the lot. Air gaps can also form, causing depressions on the surface, making it unsafe for pedestrians or vehicles to move around freely. Over time, the parking lot will develop potholes forcing you to repair them or completely repave them, which means this will be costly.
The Impact of Cold
During the winter months, temperatures can fluctuate above and below freezing, and while there may not be any precipitation on the ground, there could still be moisture under the surface. When snow, rain, sleet, or hail enter a cracked asphalt area and the temperature warms, water seeps through. Once the temperatures drop again, the water freezes and expands, pushing the cracks further apart. This continuous freeze and thaw process can widen already made cracks and cause significant and dangerous damage like potholes.
The standard freeze and thaw process is part of nature, but it can slowly wreak havoc on paved surfaces. As moisture penetrates the asphalt and temperatures drop during the winter months, the ice pushes outward. This has the power to gradually weaken the layers of the parking lot, resulting in the formation of cracks and potholes.
Rain can also be problematic in cold weather, especially if the paved surface has a significant slope. A steep incline can result in the rain running down the liquid asphalt and eventually eroding the material’s top layer. Over time, the paved area can wear away and become mainly rock and aggregate.