Asphalt is affected by the weather, which is why different types of asphalt can be installed for different climates. This poses some unique challenges with Central Oregon’s hot summers and cold winters. Here’s what everyone should about how our weather matters, and what that means for important asphalt projects.
Cold Weather in Central Oregon and Asphalt
Central Oregon sees freezing temperatures throughout winter (and usually parts of fall and spring as well). Particularly low-temperature freezing conditions can cause asphalt to contract in on itself, and weak asphalt may pull apart and form cracks as a result.
The other danger of freezing temperatures is any moisture around, beneath, or inside asphalt. This moisture can come from underground or melting snow and ice seeping into asphalt cracks. When this water freezes as night temperatures drop, it expands and “heaves” the asphalt, causing serious ruptures and tears.
So, how does residential and commercial asphalt installation deal with these serious winter challenges? The first step is making sure the substrate beneath the asphalt is properly prepared and that drainage both above and below the asphalt is designed so that moisture does not linger. If asphalt is being installed during cold weather, the paving contractor will also use different mixes and steps to help the asphalt cure properly: Generally, if the temperatures are falling to near freezing, it’s not the right time for an asphalt project.
If asphalt does experience damage from winter conditions, it’s important to find asphalt repair in Central Oregon and patch it quickly! Cracks and deterioration will become much worse over time with freezing weather. Sealcoats and some other approaches can also help asphalt weather cold winters more easily. Proper maintenance, like quickly clearing away snow and keeping asphalt clean, will also have an important impact.
Hot Weather in Central Oregon and Asphalt
Central Oregon sees hot, dry summers with temperatures rising into the 90s by August, very different conditions from the cold, snowy winters. This poses a separate kind of challenge to asphalt.
First, the frequent sunny days of our region expose asphalt to lots of UV radiation. This can encourage a chemical reaction in the asphalt where light and heavy oils combine and the binding components of the asphalt start to fail, making the asphalt brittle and subject to more cracking.
Second, if the asphalt is exposed to very high temperatures over time, especially without a proper top coating, bits of it can start to come apart and adhere to other things, like shoes or tries. This is called tracking – fortunately, the dry heat of Central Oregon isn’t as likely to cause tracking, but it’s still something to be aware of.
Finally, the heat itself can damage asphalt over time, and may cause cracks or cause existing cracks to grow worse.
The solution is finding the right combination of asphalt mix and top coating to help asphalt weather the summers. This often means planning for a high SRI, or solar reflectance index, which allows asphalt to reflect more heat instead of absorbing it. It’s also important to patch any cracks that appear before they can cause problems.
Are you looking for professional driveway paving in Central Oregon, or a project built specifically for local weather conditions? Contact Tri County Paving today to learn more or get a fast quote from our experienced asphalt paving team in Central Oregon!