One of the best things about the Midwest is the changing seasons. However, the soon to be upon us winter weather means that it is time to think about last minute driveway, parking lot and roadway maintenance. Leaving cracks or potholes unfilled for the winter season can be detrimental to your asphalt and increase future expenses. It is important, for the integrity of your asphalt surface and your budget, to be prepared for the impending winter weather and complete repair work before the temperatures start to drop.
Inspect Your Asphalt Surface
Whenever there is a seasonal change, make sure to inspect your driveway or parking lot and the surrounding area for imperfections and potential future repairs. Whatever preventative measures you can to take to keep your asphalt in good condition now will save money in the future. By taking time to evaluate the condition of your asphalt surface, eventual and immediate problems can be identified and prevented.
Tiny Problems Can Quickly Become Big Problems
Cracks and potholes only get bigger, and so does the price-point to have them filled. The contraction and expansion of the sub-base of your asphalt surface can cause instability, and the increase the likelihood of your surface to develop cracks over time. Using cold-mix asphalt can be a temporary solution for filling potholes and cracks, but cold-mix asphalt can’t withstand cold weather as well as hot-mix asphalt. It is always better to be proactive about pavement repairs while the weather is warm and hot-mix asphalt paving is still an option.
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.
Snow Removal Damage
Snowfall is inevitable in the Midwest. Regardless of the accumulation snow needs to be removed, not only for the sake of safety, but it is also to increase the longevity of your asphalt. However, an unmaintained parking lot, driveway, or roadway littered with potholes, cracks and other driveway imperfections can make snow removal a damaging undertaking.
A snowplow or shovel effectively removes snow by scrapping the asphalt surface. On a perfectly smooth surface void of imperfections, a snowplow or shovel will simply glide over the top of the asphalt surface and remove snow without a problem. However, if the pavement is cracked and riddled with potholes, the scrapping can cause pieces of asphalt to break off and create larger potholes and cracks.
Remember, being proactive in your approach to asphalt maintenance is integral to saving money on future asphalt repairs.
Keep it Clean
As you think about asphalt maintenance and repair, one particular course of action that is often overlooked is the importance of a clean asphalt surface. We advocate for street sweeping services, as they are an important part of asphalt paving maintenance.
Street sweepers use water jets and specially designed bristled brushes to remove dirt and debris from the asphalt surface, and in turn, increase the longevity and esthetic appeal of paved surfaces. Street sweeping is recommended at least once a year and is a simple step to maintain your asphalt pavement.
Weathering the Weather
Keep in mind that even if you follow these recommendations, your asphalt will suffer from some wear-and-tear during the winter season. However, by taking the necessary steps to a maintain a clean and well-kept driveway, parking lot or roadway, you will increase the lifespan of you pavement and your pocket book will thank you for it.
Is there anything we missed? Do you have any driveway maintenance or repair ideas that we might have forgotten? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.
With 75 years of asphalt paving experience, from highways to driveways, we are your local source for all of your asphalt paving needs.
For more information on Wolf Paving or to request a free quote for your next paving project contact one of our two offices. If you live or work in the Milwaukee area, call us at 262-965-2121. For the Madison area, call us at 608-249-7931.