Can You Lay Asphalt in Winter?

In the asphalt industry, the work doesn’t stop just because winter hits. The snow, ice and colder temperatures can make projects more challenging, though. Most asphalt contractors recommend holding off on paving projects until winter ends. But business owners can’t always just wait to pave a parking lot for months until the temperatures rise. An experienced asphalt contractor in Sarasota Springs, NY knows the right methods to successfully pave under certain conditions during the colder months of the year.

The contractor must evaluate a few different factors to determine whether winter paving is possible, or if it won’t be possible to pull off without sacrificing the quality of the project. Contractors consider these four things when deciding if it’s possible to pave in winter.

Ground temperature

The first thing an asphalt contractor considers is the ground temperature of the foundation for the pavement. This is the most critical factor when it comes to laying new asphalt. Asphalt typically can’t be placed when the temperature of the ground is below freezing, because a cold foundation causes the asphalt to lose its heat, which makes it practically impossible to reach sufficient compaction. Because of this, laying new asphalt is out of the question if the ground is frozen.

Lift thickness

If the ground isn’t frozen, the contractor will consider how thick the new asphalt will need to be. Thinner layers of asphalt lose heat at a rapid rate. Crews won’t have enough time to work a full layer of the asphalt if it’s too thin. Thicker layers will retain warmth long enough to be spread evenly.

Mix delivery temperature

On top of the ground temperature and lift thickness, the asphalt contractor must also consider how warm the asphalt will be by the time it reaches the job site. The asphalt is incredibly hot when it leaves the plant. It will be unusable if it cools too much on the drive to the installation site. Too-cool asphalt will begin to crust on top. Its quality will suffer, and its life expectancy will be reduced.

Ambient air temperature and weather conditions

Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to predict whether the ambient air temperature will be a problem before the day of installation. Conductive and convective heat transfer occurs when the chilly ambient air temperature is paired with high winds. The heat seeps out through the base and into the air. The higher the wind speed, the more quickly the asphalt will lose heat. On top of that, the weather conditions also need to be completely dry for the paving to begin. Any rain or snow would compromise the integrity of the asphalt. Ultimately, your asphalt contractor won’t be able to make a final call on whether the asphalt can be laid until the scheduled installation day.

It’s crucial that your asphalt contractor in Sarasota Springs, NY works quickly and effectively, since the weather can take a turn for the worse in a matter of minutes. That’s why you need the help of the experts at Asphalt Industries. Our team provides top-notch asphalt services year-round. Call us today to discuss your specific project.