Winter Asphalt Care Tips
October 9, 2017
Although asphalt should be laid in warmer weather and hot-mixed asphalt plants don’t typically run during the winter season, asphalt maintenance should be a year-long job.
Before winter sets in you should inspect all areas of your asphalt for cracks and damage. Clean your asphalt well and do a thorough walk around. It’s a good idea to call a professional to come look at the asphalt if you are unsure, because an expert may catch conditions that the untrained eye might miss. A key component to making your asphalt last is fixing problems before they have the opportunity to become major issues that could lead to potentially premature and costly replacements. Minor cracks in the material aren’t necessarily bad, but during the winter when it starts getting wet outside the cracks can soak up the moisture, which creates problems. If water seeps into the cracks and it is cold enough outside to freeze, it will expand and make the asphalt relax once the ice melts. This process will create potholes over time. Prevention is the best method to avoid costly repairs. If you seal the cracks from the start it will help to keep water from penetrating the asphalt and wreaking havoc.
It’s important to make sure that your driveway has proper drainage. Any area that has asphalt or concrete needs correct water runoff to handle excess water, or it will get damaged. You should also avoid placing your gutter where the runoff will land on the asphalt. Not only could it damage your asphalt, but it could pose a safety hazard due to ice accumulation.
Snow and Snow Removal
Shovel snow as quickly as you can after it falls. Standing water, snow and ice are not your friend when it comes to asphalt maintenance. Water pooling on top of asphalt is usually a sign of an upcoming pothole. A plastic shovel is usually safer to use on asphalt. Metal and other sharp shovel edges can scratch asphalt surfaces, or snag on existing cracks and make them worse. If you are removing snow from a large surface like a parking lot, you should consider hiring a professional to keep it plowed.
Avoid using salt. Salt often does more damage than good. If you insist on using salt, it’s better to use magnesium chloride, or potassium chloride, as they are moderately less harmful. Shovel any excess deicing product to protect the asphalt from harsh chemicals.
You may want to consider marking the curb of your driveway so that snowplows know to avoid the area. Snowplows, and sometimes even shovels, can create problems on the surface of asphalt.