How the Extreme Weather Affects Asphalt and What You Can do to Prepare
Mother Nature can be one of (if not the top) destructive factor we face in the world and there’s really nothing we can do to control it. You can prepare properly though. Extreme weather affects many aspects of our daily lives, routine and possessions. At their peaks these storms can damage houses, destroy cities and cause detrimental chaos. But what about the extreme weather that happens quite often throughout our country on a regular basis. Those storms that don’t seem so bad on the big scale but could still cause severe damage. Think snow storms, thunderstorms, high heat and high winds. These sometimes daily occurrences cause extreme wear and tear without us even realizing until it’s too late.
Every change in weather affects your asphalt differently and the preparation can vary. You’ve made the investment and put care into your asphalt surface, it’s important to protect it as well. Let’s dive into some common storms that can cause major damage, and how you can prepare your asphalt for any weather situation.
Rain, thunder and lightning storms
The most common damaging weather is rain and thunderstorms. Every moment there is an estimated 2,000 thunderstorms occurring worldwide totalling around 16 million thunderstorms yearly. With high winds, pelting rain, damaging hail and debris being tossed around, it’s a recipe for disaster. The mixture of temperature, precipitation and puddling waters can cause your asphalt driveway or lot to break down.
Nashville experiences daily afternoon thunderstorms especially in the summer months. The combination of humidity and heavy downpours can create disruption in the strength of your asphalt surface. While the rain builds, the moisture can work it’s way down through the asphalt and remain under the surface. This not only creates tension for the top asphalt, its degrading the ground beneath your driveway or parking lot. With constant abuse and erosion the asphalt will crack further and become weaker quicker than expected. As the asphalt concaves or cracks pools of standing water can form. With sitting water you now have a concern of contaminates and unhealthy particles forming and affecting the surrounding environment.
The main maintenance procedure is universal for all extreme weather, and that is to mend any cracks, holes and weak spots on your asphalt surface. Patching can create a bandage over damaged areas on your driveway or parking lot. This will keep a better seal to keep rain from seeping into the depths of your asphalt and causing extended damage. Because rainfall is a year round occurrence, keeping up with a proactive and consistent routine will ensure a longer life for your asphalt.
In Nashville we are lucky to have maybe only a few snow showers during the winter months, however, many are very unprepared for when the snow does come. Winter storms bring more than just snow. There are below freezing temps, fatal ice and massive power outages. In 2017 there was over $1.5 million in record losses due to winter storms. Many of the expenses include road repair due to the rise and fall of temps and heavy snow.
With roads being affected most during extreme weather such as winter storms, you should be aware of the specific damages that can be caused. Your asphalt can take a serious beating during these storms. From the weight of the snow to the deicing salt you throw down; the winter storms have immediate effect on your driveway or parking lot, and the damages can extend well into warmer spring days.
There are key preventative maintenance routines to perform before the cold weather hits your asphalt driveway or lot. In all weather preparation cases it’s much better to be proactive rather than reactive when the weather warms up. To maintain high performance and longevity for your asphalt be sure to repair any existing cracks and potholes. This will deter pools of water, due to melting snow, building up within your asphalt surface. A key step in protecting your asphalt for winter storms is to apply a sealcoat. Sealcoating your driveway or parking lot before the freezing temps and massive snow falls occur will provide an extra layer strength.
The south knows heat. Down in Tennessee the summer days are oppressively hot with temps rising well up into the hundreds. With the strength of the sun and the high humidity, it seems like everything around us is melting. Record highs and rising humidity levels have caused damage to machines, surfaces, cars and even people! In this summer of 2018 alone many heat records have been broken worldwide. Places like Los Angeles hit 111 degrees, and up in the mountains Denver clocked in at a record 105 degrees in June. So you can imagine what it’s like during the warm days down here in Nashville.
Many states feel the wrath of blazing temps and your asphalt surface can take some serious hits. Although all the days feel hot, there are the days hotter than most. The days with dangerously high temps causing many health issues and immediate damage to roads. This influx of heat, sun and humidity causes your asphalt surface to expand and contract. Your driveway or parking lot is prone to severe buckling during the peaks of the hot weather. Because the flexibility and strength of the asphalt is being weakened by the excessive expansion many times buckling will occur. This eventually escalates to collapsing in (triggered especially by rainfall, thunderstorms, and cooler temps) causing a pothole to form.
Before the dog days of summer take the necessary steps to repair and improve your existing asphalt surface. As mentioned for the other extreme weather procedures, always try to be a step ahead of the impending storms. By upholding a maintenance routine you are enabling your asphalt pavement to stand up against the penetrating heat.
Before it’s too hot take a look at your residential driveway or commercial lot, does it need more than just a few patches? Has the past winter and spring created erosive damage that doesn’t seem to be an easy fix? The best way to prep for another week of extreme heat is to have a fresh surface laid down.
Resurfacing your pavement before the brunt of effective weather can save you a headache down the line when the damage is worse (and possibly worse weather). Many times during these summer days you like to enjoy your outdoor space, maybe give the car a good wash, start a game of pickup hoop or have a family BBQ. Whatever it may be, resurfacing your asphalt driveway can not only boost curb appeal, it will be smoother and more practical for family living.