Winter weather is harsh on asphalt pavement, which is why it’s important to stock up on asphalt repair products before the next spring. Many of the asphalt cracks and potholes your customers may have decided not to repair during the fall will need to be fixed when the snow melts.

In this blog post, the asphalt repair product experts at B&E Seal Coat Products will explain what causes asphalt to pothole in the winter and what kinds of products you’ll need to prepare for springtime asphalt paving.

How do potholes form in the winter?

Potholes form when asphalt cracks aren’t filled before winter. Asphalt expands and contracts with fluctuating temperatures. During the winter, asphalt cracks get bigger when the surrounding pavement contracts.

Winter potholes are mainly created when cracks allow water to seep into the foundation. Once this happens, the trapped water underneath the asphalt can freeze, which pushes the surface of the pavement up.

When temperatures rise, ice melts beneath asphalt surfaces and leaves behind a space between pavement and sub-base. Empty space significantly weakens asphalt pavement, which is why it collapses into a pothole when cars drive over it.

How do I prevent winter potholes?

The best way to prevent potholes is to explain to your customers how winter weather affects asphalt. Make sure they understand that by not doing fall asphalt maintenance they will end up spending more money in the spring to fill in potholes and cracks that have since grown bigger. Spring is busy for asphalt contractors, this makes it hard to get parking lots and driveways repaired.

Asphalt maintenance includes sealcoating after filling cracks and potholes. Sealcoating can prevent potholes by making the surface of parking lots and driveways resistant to rain, snow, sleet, and automobile fluids. Asphalt repair can save your customers money in the long-run and give you repeat business.

How can I repair potholes in the winter?

Since winter weather is too cold and wet for installing hot mix asphalt, we recommend using cold patch asphalt product. Like the name suggests, cold patch asphalt can be installed in cold temperatures. The oils in cold patch asphalt keep the mixture malleable enough to use in cold weather. However, this also makes cold patch asphalt too soft to be considered a permanent solution.

While cold patch asphalt can be installed year-round, most contractors use it as a temporary fix for winter potholes until the weather warms up enough for hot mix asphalt installation. Make sure that customers understand potholes need to be filled with hot mix asphalt for a permanent solution.

B&E Seal Coat Products Inc. is a Grand Rapids asphalt supply company dedicated to making sure contractors have what they need to complete jobs. If you are interested in browsing our inventory of asphalt paving and sealcoating products, give us a call at (616) 608-6169.