Asphalt Freeze-Thaw Cycles
Some property management during the fall or autumn months can ensure that you won’t be facing larger problems during the winter months. While inspecting your property and/or residence don’t forget to look down and consider asphalt freeze-thaw cycle protection during the upcoming cold season.
Budgeting for preventive asphalt maintenance can maintain your property’s curb appeal, increase the longevity of your asphalt and address safety concerns in the long run. Maintenance projects such as filling potholes, crack filling, and sealcoating provide an excellent r.o.i. (return on investment).
The forthcoming cold season is extremely hard on asphalt. During the warmer seasons of spring through fall asphalt is flexible, which helps to prevent cracks and potholes from forming. As the temperatures begin to cool, so does asphalt which causes it to become harder and stronger, but the downside is it also causes it to become more brittle. By being more brittle asphalt is susceptible to cracking. However the most damage occurs during the freeze-thaw cycles that asphalt pavements are subjected to.
Asphalt Freeze-Thaw Cycles
A freeze-thaw cycle occurs whenever the temperature goes from above freezing (32 F), to below freezing, and then back again. This is considered one freeze-thaw cycle, and Northern New Jersey undergoes a couple of these each year. At an above freezing temperature the rainwater and runoff from melting snow will find it way into the smallest of cracks. Then when the temperature goes below 32 degrees this water begins to freeze and expand, thereby exerting enough pressure to crack the surrounding asphalt and grow. When water freezes it expands about ten percent and can exert up to 30,000 psi as it does so. Then along comes some warmer above freezing temperatures and the cycle begins all over again.
Then there is the damage to the sub-grade to consider. Water beneath the asphalt is meant to be drained away, but during the cold season it can freeze with this sub-grade. The result can be frost heave which happens when water freezes and expands in larger chunks and forces the asphalt above upward. Again when the temperatures climb these chunks of ice start to melt, thereby weakening the base layer and creating a void where they once were. Asphalt traffic from above then compresses these areas and potholes can quickly appear.
Asphalt Protection and Maintenance
First and foremost it is important to consider the drainage of water both above and below the asphalt. A sloping pavement will quickly direct water off the surface of the pavement into a collection basin. Proper drains installed below the pavement can prevent frost heave from occurring by removing water within the base and sub-grade layers.
Asphalt crack sealing every 2-3 years is the best property management practice you can undertake to preserve your asphalt pavements. Crack sealing prevents water from entering cracks during the freeze-thaw cycles and from reaching the base and sub-grade layers. while making your asphalt look like new again, increasing the curb appeal of your property.
Once cracking has become widespread, a mill and overlay is option and often the only one which will restore the surface of the pavement. Ideally, all asphalt maintenance such as sealcoating, cracks and potholes repair should be done in the driest possible conditions. Exposure to weather elements impacts the structural integrity of your asphalt.
Take advantage of the fall weather and protect your asphalt. You can count on our professional team to work with you to identify realistic asphalt maintenance plans for your commercial properties, business and residential properties. Contact us today to schedule sealcoating and to learn more about what you need to protect your asphalt driveways before winter hits.
James Kurpiel Inc of Hackensack
Commercial Asphalt Property Maintenance Contractor
19 Orchard St. – Hackensack, N.J. 07601 / Toll Free at 1-800-273-9769 / (201) 342-3170