Winter Paving: Can it be Done?
In the northeast, when temperatures drop, most asphalt projects are placed on hold. Many paving contractors will shift their focus to snow removal services. Major paving projects are held off until spring when the temperatures rise to an acceptable range. Let’s take a more in-depth look at winter paving, and can it be done?
Why Can’t You Lay Asphalt in the Winter?
The quick answer is because asphalt plants close during the winter months. That only kicks the answer down the road, however. Why do asphalt plants decide to close in the winter months? Asphalt has certain conditions it must meet so it can develop optimally. The number one factor being compaction.
Asphalt and Compaction
As asphalt is laid, it is a loose mix of asphalt binder and aggregate. A large roller or compactor is then taken overtop the freshly laid asphalt to compress this mixture and force the binder and aggregate together. This stiff material is then allowed to cool and form a smooth surface. If the mixture is not compacted, you are left with a rough black gravel surface.
Compaction is similar to a puzzle. When you first dump out a puzzle, you are presented with a big pile of pieces. As you assemble the puzzle, it flattens out. The same goes for compacting asphalt. Compacting asphalt is like fitting pieces of a puzzle together and making them stick.
Cold Temperatures Means Less Compaction Time
Asphalt takes time to compact. In colder weather conditions, it’s a race against time. There is only a limited time when the asphalt is workable and can be properly compacted. As the clock ticks, the asphalt begins to stiffen, and the binder will no longer bind to the aggregate. In really cold temperatures, you have only a few minutes of working time. That’s nowhere near enough time to ensure the asphalt is compacted correctly. At best, potholes can be filled and tamed down. As far as a complete driveway install, it’s not going to happen in the winter.
What if I Need Asphalt Work Done?
During the winter, if you need asphalt repair work, you will be best served to have a patch job to get you through the winter months. It’s a reality that asphalt can simply not be laid during the winter months.
The one thing you can do is get quotes on the work you are looking to have done. For over 50 years, John Parichuk Paving, LLC, is known for our exceptional paving and seal coating services in the Hanover, Gettysburg, and York, PA, region. Call us now to get a quote on your next paving project. Let’s add you to our work schedule for when the temperatures rise to optimal paving conditions.