How Does Heat Affect Asphalt?

If you’re the owner of an asphalt driveway, it’s important for you to understand how the long-term exposure to certain elements and environmental factors can affect your asphalt surface. One of the most important elements to consider is heat.

Every paved surface will absorb heat, at least to a certain extent. This will result in an increased surface temperature, as well as an increased temperature in the surrounding environment due to ambient heating processes.

Here are a few examples of some of the most common issues caused when asphalt is in the heat in Saratoga Springs, NY:

  • Cracking: Cracking is generally a result of prolonged heat exposure. It’s more likely to occur in older surfaces, but can occur earlier on in the asphalt’s lifespan if it has been poorly maintained or was improperly installed. In addition, a higher level of traffic is also linked to a greater likelihood of cracking. It’s important to keep up with regular applications of sealcoats to prevent cracking from heat exposure.
  • Tracking: Tracking is exactly what it sounds like: the formation of tracks in the asphalt surface. Asphalt is designed to withstand extremely high temperatures (it’s poured at a very high temperature, after all), but on very hot days, the surface might get softened to the point where little pieces of asphalt can stick to tires, shoes and anything else on the surface. Tracking is also likely to occur if hot, humid conditions extend the curing time for a newly paved surface.
  • Raveling: Raveling can be caused by insufficient compaction and separation of the binder and aggregate. This happens in a downward motion and creates a buildup of debris and soil in the damaged area. The issue can be repaired, but the type of repair process used will depend mostly on how severely the surface has been affected.
  • Oxidation: Oxidation results in the asphalt’s entire structure getting weaker, causing it to become brittle. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation and some of the oils in the asphalt react with each other, reducing the total count of binding oils in the asphalt and thereby resulting in cracking or raveling becoming a greater issue in the structure.

So, what can you do to prevent these types of heat-related damage from becoming an issue? After all, you can’t exactly keep your asphalt out of the sun.

The best thing you can do is stay on top of sealcoating. This creates a protective layer that forms a barrier against the heat and sunshine, as well as other elements like rain, snow, hail and ice. By having a proper sealcoat at all times, you will be able to minimize or entirely prevent heat-related damage, which will keep your paved asphalt surface in great condition for a much longer period of time.

To learn more about how you can protect your asphalt paved surfaces and what you can expect to happen to asphalt in the heat in Saratoga Springs, NY, we encourage you to get in touch with the team at Asphalt Industries, LLC with any questions.