How Does Winter Affect Your Asphalt?

Asphalt driveways are among the most popular type, thanks to their affordability and durability. Yet, even this rugged material is subject to damage from wear and tear. The winter weather can take a toll on your driveway, but you can keep the asphalt in good shape by getting it seal coated routinely and patched as needed.

The Freeze/Thaw Cycle

Winter weather isn’t consistent. It can dip below zero one night, and be well above freezing the next day. The frequent shifts between freezing and thawing can cause cracks and potholes to develop. It happens when the water from melting snow and ice works its way into the tiny fissures in the asphalt. When the temperature dips below freezing again, the water turns into ice and expands. The pressure of this expansion can force the tiny fissures in the asphalt to become increasingly larger cracks.

Frost heaves are another problem caused by the freeze/thaw cycle. Ice can form in the soil beneath the asphalt driveway. As the ice continues to accumulate, it can push up the soil, and in doing so, push up the asphalt. Between the potholes and frost heaves, a damaged driveway can take a toll on your vehicle’s suspension system. That’s why it’s important to call a paving company right away to fix the damage.

The Use of Deicing Agents

Virtually every homeowner in northern climates has a bag of rock salt or alternative deicing agent on hand for the winter. Deicing agents are helpful for making walkways and driveways more pedestrian-friendly, but over time, they can also do damage to the asphalt. They work by lowering the melting point of snow and ice.

The problem is that deicers only work down to a certain temperature. Once it gets too cold, the snow stops melting and refreezes. At this point, all of that newly formed ice will expand and cause cracking in the driveway.

Schreiner, Inc . is a construction and paving company serving the Steamboat Springs, Colorado area. If winter weather has damaged your asphalt, you can call them at (970) 871-0078 to request a free repair estimate.