Asphalt requires proper protection in the winter if you want it to survive the test of time. Without the proper precautions in place, snow, water and freezing cold temperatures are capable of damaging asphalt. Keep your pavement looking the same pre and post-winter with these helpful tips for protecting asphalt during Tennessee’s winter weather.
#1. Make Necessary Asphalt Repairs Before Winter
Any untouched repairs will suffer damage throughout winter, leaving you with a bigger problem on your hands come spring. Any cracks or holes in your pavement will take in moisture. All winter this moisture freezes and expands and then thaws and decreases in mass. This puts pressure on asphalt and leads to widening and lengthening of cracks. If too many cracks form, they can all bind together, creating a complicated interconnected network of cracks known as alligator cracking.
Making repairs to cracks while they are still small and readily manageable will save you money and hassles down the road. Winter provides the perfect opportunity for small cracks to turn into larger cracks.
Some of the most important pre-winter repairs to make include:
-Fixing potholes so that water doesn’t pool and expand all winter, forming into larger potholes come spring. If potholes are left ignored over winter, they almost always increase in size. If potholes are a repetitive issue, you may want to invest in cold-mix asphalt to fix the problem. Our specially formulated cold-mix asphalt works beautifully with Tennessee weather. We know the correct process in order to repair asphalt without causing structural damage to the surrounding asphalt.
-Apply sealcoat to your asphalt to provide a layer of protection during winter. This has to be done before winter is too close. The curing process requires temperatures of at least 50 degrees F.
-Luckily, even if winter is right around the corner, you can typically still apply crack filling, which will help prevent moisture from infiltrating surfaces and ruining the sub-base.
#2. Clean Up The Area & Clear Away All Debris
Clean parking lots and driveways of all debris before the first snowfall or winter storm. Commercial parking lots benefit from professional cleaning because:
-All debris will be moved so that nothing interferes with the snow removal process.
-Ensures removal of larger items with the potential to freeze and damage asphalt surfaces over the course of winter.
-During the cleaning process, professionals can alert you to any structural issues or repairs that should be conducted to protect your asphalt this winter.
#3. Check For Standing Water
Before winter arrives, check over your parking lot or driveway and take note of any areas where water tends to pool. Repair these areas before winter hits in order to prevent standing water from turning into ice. Ice is dangerous to people frequenting your business and it is also damaging to your asphalt. Municipal and business parking lots have the largest obligation to fix areas with standing water in order to protect the public.
#4. Regularly Bust Out The Shovel All Winter Long
The shovel or snowplow is your asphalt’s best friend when it comes to surviving winter after winter. When you remove snow, it doesn’t have the chance to melt and turn into standing water. Asphalt left with standing water on the surface is in danger of all kinds of issues; after all, water is asphalt’s greatest enemy. Using a plow to remove snow takes additional knowledge; improper usage of a plow can easily result in further damage to preexisting potholes or cracks.
#5. Should You Avoid Deicing Products?
Deicers are commonly used to remove snow, but deicing products are controversial because they are bad for animals, plants and the environment. Due to runoff we can’t control where they end up. Even though deicing salts do not deteriorate asphalt, research shows that they do lead to increased salinity in our drinking water, lakes, rivers and other waterways.
We recommend using the shovel and/or snowplow before you reach for the deicers. Running a business, you want to prevent any instance of slipping, which makes it almost impossible not to reach for some type of deicer. Luckily, there are natural deicers on the market so be sure to shop around and be knowledgeable about what you are putting into the environment.