How Does Weather Impact Asphalt? You Might Be Surprised!

How Does Weather Impact Asphalt? You Might Be Surprised!

Weather has a major impact on asphalt. Each year, Nashville sees an average of 119 days of rain, 2,364 hours of sunshine, and 7-inches of snow. All these elements come together to impact asphalt surfaces. Asphalt is great at what it does, but it’s far from perfect in its ability to combat Mother nature. 

Even on a clear and sunny day, the rays from the sun slowly work to break down asphalt surfaces. Yet, even worse, is when it rains or snows and moisture seeps through surfaces. Moisture is the biggest culprit of all. Once inside asphalt surfaces, moisture can continually freeze and thaw with temperature fluctuations. This puts pressure on asphalt from the inside out, leading to cracks and larger issues that must be addressed as soon as possible.

Water and Weathers Impact on Asphalt

Any form of moisture or water can eventually break down asphalt, from rain to snow.

Rain & Asphalt

Heavy rain leads to puddles, especially if surfaces lack adequate drainage. Are your asphalt surfaces ready to dispose of the 47 inches of rain Nashville gets each year? Cracks or holes in asphalt let rainwater inside, and from there water can start damaging surfaces from the inside out via freeze/thaw cycles–especially if rain is accompanied by cold weather.

Snow & Asphalt

Those 7-inches of snow Nashville sees on average fall onto surfaces and do one of several things: melt and properly drain away, puddle and seep beneath the surface, or freeze. Icey asphalt presents a safety hazard to motorists and pedestrians, it can also signal the possibility of the freeze and thaw cycle taking place beneath asphalt surfaces—especially if surfaces were not prepared for winter by filling holes and cracks, etc.

Snow brings out snow plows, as well as salt and snow melt chemicals that can damage asphalt in several ways. Snow plows, for the most part, have plowing parking lots, and streets down to a science. Yet, it’s always possible for a rookie mistake to result in asphalt damage to sealcoating. Minor scrapes create weak points for moisture to enter.

While deicers and salts are often necessary to prevent slippery surfaces and subsequent injury or accident, they should be used with caution. Their use is discouraged on new asphalt surfaces. Also, run-off could lead to pollution of local waterways.

Nashvilles Weather & Freeze/Thaw Cycles

Water is the first ingredient to trouble, followed by the right conditions for freeze-thaw cycles to occur. When temperatures fluctuate, moisture beneath asphalt’s surface freezes and then thaws. When it freezes, it expands. When it thaws, it decreases in mass. The result? Excess pressure on asphalt that leads to cracks and the need for repairs.

How to protect your asphalt in Nashville all year-round

  • Make repairs to cracks as soon as possible. Small to large holes and cracks, or areas where plants are poking through need to be repaired and resealed.
  • Resurface asphalt surfaces, to do so: remove the top later of asphalt and replace it with an entirely new layer. This takes care of superficial cracks that measure less than 2-inches deep and gives asphalt a new protective layer to prevent water penetration and future cracks.
  • Prevent overuse or overloading surfaces. Only use surfaces for intended weight loads and purposes to prevent premature deterioration of surfaces. 

Keep asphalt surfaces protected against water by maintaining surfaces, sealing cracks, and adding new sealcoat as needed. From commercial asphalt installation to maintenance solutions, Kleenco Construction knows how to get the job done right.