The number one way to prepare your asphalt for winter in Tennessee is to sealcoat surfaces and fill in holes and cracks in the spring, as needed. This prevents moisture from penetrating the top surface and causing damage via freeze thaw cycles. Some other things you can do to protect asphalt against winter weather include regularly cleaning, plowing, and observing asphalt surfaces.
Meet Asphalt’s Worst Enemy: The Freeze Thaw Cycle
Asphalt is no wimp when it comes to ice-cold temperatures. In fact, it’s not the cold temperatures that harm asphalt, instead it’s something called a “freeze thaw cycle” that breaks down asphalt. When moisture gets inside of asphalt through cracks in the surface it remains there; continually expanding (freezing) and contracting (thawing) based on fluctuating temperatures.
Winter weather is the perfect precursor for freeze thaw cycles because it causes moisture to repeatedly freeze and thaw. This puts tremendous pressure on asphalt from the bottom up and eventually leads to cracks.
Sealcoat is on the Defense
Sealcoat helps prevent the freeze thaw cycle by offering an added shield of protection against moisture seeping beneath pavement in the first place. Prior to sealcoating, all cracks and potholes are fixed as well. As a result, any little crevice or hole that moisture could use to penetrate surfaces is sealed off and protected.
We highly recommend sealcoating asphalt in the spring after winter has taken its toll. Spring offers optimal temperatures and conditions for successful asphalt curing. Proper curing only occurs when temperatures do not dip below 50 degrees F the following night.
Is it too Close to Winter to Sealcoat Your Asphalt Driveway?
The best time to seal coat an asphalt driveway is during the spring, but that doesn’t mean you can never-ever sealcoat asphalt at other times of the year. When the weather is favorable, seal coating can be conducted closer to winter. If temperatures are too low, the sealcoat cannot cure properly and this will negatively impact the outcome.
We are more than happy to help you determine if it makes more sense to sealcoat your driveway now, or if it’s better to wait until spring. Contact us today
Regardless if your asphalt has a fresh layer of sealcoat or not, the following tips help protect your asphalt pavement against winter’s harsh weather.
1. Remove Debris
A professional street cleaning service is an excellent investment before it snows; one that could save you a lot of mess after the snow starts to melt. First of all, it’ll remove any debris (big or small) from roadways. It is not uncommon for snow plows to become damaged, or cause damage to asphalt due to debris covered in snow. A secondary benefit of professional cleaning services is that professionals will alert you to any asphalt issues that need to be addressed before it snows.
2. Shovel, A Lot
Standing water or snow leads to moisture seeping beneath asphalt. The goal is to remove any type of moisture as quickly as possible to reduce exposure. And that, my friends, equals a lot of shoveling and snow plowing to keep asphalt surfaces clear and clean.
3. Reconsider De-icers
De-icers are a popular product used to melt ice, but most are toxic to asphalt, as well as the environment and even pets or animals that innocently walk across them. Sadly, many studies have found worrisome salinity levels in local lakes, rivers, and even drinking water. All signs point to overuse of de-icers.
If you don’t want to ditch de-icers for the environment, do it for your asphalt. De-icers wear away asphalt surfaces and are highly discouraged in the first year after asphalt is applied.
4. Fix Pooling Water ASAP
If you notice water pooling in certain portions of asphalt, you could very well wake up to a pothole in Spring. Contact a local asphalt repair contractor as soon as possible so the issue can be addressed before it has a chance to turn into a pothole this winter.