More and more asphalt contractors are working into late fall by learning how to pave hot-mix asphalt in cold weather. In this blog post, we will explain how paving asphalt in the winter needs to be done carefully to prevent premature pavement failure. To find the best asphalt paving products for the job, we recommend contacting an asphalt sealcoating supply company near you.

Why is Proper Asphalt Installation Important?

Given proper maintenance, asphalt pavement can last up to 25 years. However, hot-mix asphalt needs to be kept at the right temperature and properly compacted during installation to prevent premature pavement failure. It’s important to understand that while asphalt paving contractors can work through cold weather, the quality of this work won’t be as high compared to if they had waited to pave in the summer.

In order to establish a good reputation for your company, you’ll want to make sure your customers are always satisfied with the quality of your work. If the weather conditions don’t permit for asphalt paving, recommend your customers contact you again in the spring.

For cold weather paving, you’ll need:

You’ll need to work quickly to pave asphalt in cold weather. This is because cold weather conditions cause hot-mix asphalt to rapidly lose heat. Weather conditions can also quickly change in the winter. The ground needs to be dry during installation, which means you won’t be able to install new asphalt if it starts snowing, sleeting, or raining.

Many contractors are able to do cold weather paving during late fall or early spring. However, the air temperature needs to be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit before you can start installing new asphalt. It’s best if you pick a day for asphalt installation when the temperature is expected to continue rising above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The ground also cannot be frozen during new asphalt installation.

Hot-mix asphalt has to stay within a certain temperature range for proper compaction, which is why paving in the winter is usually not done unless there are stretches of unseasonably warm temperatures. Barring a mild winter, most contractors avoid paving new asphalt until the next spring.

Precipitation, especially sleet and snow, can reduce the temperature of hot-mix asphalt during installation. Unfortunately, when this happens, it causes the stones in the mix to become loose. Missing stones leave behind little pits, which can collect rain and cause water damage.

The higher the wind velocity, the faster the asphalt pavement will cool before it has a chance to be properly compacted. If hot-mix asphalt cools too quickly, the surface will start to rapidly deteriorate. This is because the aggregate material in hot-mix asphalt needs to be packed tightly with asphalt to prevent separation. Loose stones can create little holes and divots on asphalt surfaces where rainfall can collect.

B&E Seal Coat Products Inc. is a Grand Rapids asphalt and sealcoat products supplier dedicated to making sure asphalt contractors always have what they need for the next job. If you are interested in learning more about what asphalt maintenance and repair products you should use for cold weather asphalt paving, give us a call at (616) 608-6169.