How Temperature Changes Affect Pavement

Although both are extremely tough surfaces, both concrete and asphalt parking lots can be affected by numerous things. Weather changes are certainly one of the factors that can cause structural damage in either surface.

Heavy rainfall, ice, and snow, as well as significant swings in temperature all contribute to the breakdown of both asphalt and concrete parking lots. It is very important to take note of your commercial parking lot’s condition during each season change, especially in the summer and winter.  Below we will discuss some of the ways that the temperature changes can affect your pavement.

How the Changing Seasons Affect Your Parking Lot

Cold temperatures cause pavement to contract while warm temperatures cause it to expand. Swings in temperature cause the shift to happen more dramatically. This can cause cracks in the surface that will continue to grow if not repaired quickly. Larger cracks can lead to warped and uneven surfaces which can pose a risk to both drivers and pedestrians that utilize your parking lot. Although heat and cold can affect your parking lot at any time, damage is more pronounced during temperature swings that occur mostly as the season change.

Several conditions can lead to cracking, including:

  • Quick shifts in temperature
  • Portions of the pavement heating unevenly
  • Pavement being exposed to prolonged or excessive heat or cold

We’ve already discussed the first one, but not the last. Due to the basic principal of pavement expanding in heat and contracting in cold, the prolonged nature of either high temps in the summer or low in the winter can take it’s toll on your parking lot. Another factor than can lead to damage is portions of the pavement heating unevenly. Temperature differentials can occur when foliage, buildings, or parking structures shade some areas of pavement while leaving the others exposed to the harsh sun. This can cause uneven expansion or contraction leaving the pavement vulnerable to cracking.

How Other Weather Conditions Affect Pavement

Temperature extremes and swings can not solely be blamed for severe damage to your pavement. The real damage happens once the crack develops and leaves the surfaces vulnerable to precipitation and condensation. The cracks allow the moisture to work its way into the pavement and collect underneath which begins to erode the foundation. Once this occurs and force is applied, the weakened surface is left susceptible to forming divots, potholes or even sinkholes.

Ways to Protect Your  Surfaces from Weather

Get It Done Right The First time : A properly laid asphalt or concrete surface will help prevent many of these problems from starting. A reputable contractor will make sure the soil is properly stabilized, the asphalt or concrete is properly mixed, and they will create proper drainage for your lot. All of this will help prevent moisture from being able to get under your foundation.

Perform Routine Inspections : An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! As your surface increases in age and the ground has time to shift, even the best laid pavement will begin to show signs of age. It’s important to keep an eye out for areas of concern especially before the winter cold and summer heat hit. If you notice cracks or divots as either of these approach, it’s highly advised to have it looked at immediately.

Preventative Maintenance Plan: Prepare & Prevent or Repair & Repent. Filling or sealing minor cracks as well as  seal coating can help keep your pavement in the best possible condition. While this may not be able to totally prevent damage from occurring, it will go a long ways in preventing it. These small investments can help add years to the life of your parking lot.

Patch Defects Right Away : If you are already at the point where your parking lot has damage, make sure to get it fixed right away. The longer you wait, the more moisture is able to get under the surface and the more damage will occur.

It is important to have your parking lot regularly inspected by a paving contractor and to develop and stick with a game plan for maintenance. Call The Paving Contractor You Can Trust today to set up a time for a free inspection! 817-900-6947

 

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