With fall here, now is the time to start performing asphalt maintenance to get your paved surfaces ready for the winter onslaught of snow, ice, road salt and chilly temperatures. Maintenance of your asphalt can prevent costly repairs down the road such as asphalt repair or paving replacements.
Potholes Freeze and Become a Safety Hazard
Potholes can appear on your asphalt surface when the stress of vehicle traffic combined with the expansion and contraction of water under the pavement cause weak spots to form throughout the asphalt. With continuous traffic, eventually these weak spots break down to form potholes. The issue with potholes, in addition to the obvious deterioration of the asphalt, is that they can become a liability and a hazard. Driving over potholes can cause a multitude of problems for a vehicle, but when coupled with winter weather, they become even more hazardous. Simple preventative maintenance before the cold weather arrives can prevent slippery conditions for vehicles and pedestrians alike.
Cracks Can Retain Water Too
Moderate temperatures of the fall season are optimal for crack sealing performance. In the cold temperatures of winter, pavement contracts and cracks become bigger while in the hot summer season, the pavement expands and closes the cracks. Crack repair should, therefore, be done while the weather is still on your side. Taking care of cracked or deteriorated pavement now can minimize further damage during the winter freeze and the spring thaw. Cracks and potholes let water infiltrate beneath the pavement. When the water freezes, it expands, causing more cracking and allowing additional potholes to develop. Water infiltration is one of the leading causes of premature “death” for an asphalt surface. If water enters through breaks in the pavement, it can reach the foundation supporting the pavement and destabilize it.
Your pavement relies on a stable foundation for strength. Water, whether it is frozen or liquid, is your foundation’s enemy. A damaged foundation can be costly to repair as it requires the removal and replacement of the pavement.
Thank goodness for snowplows in the winter. Even these winter life savers can add more stress and damage to small cracks and potholes, making them bigger, wider, more expensive and more dangerous to the people driving on the surface.
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