While asphalt looks tough and durable, the heat of summer can definitely weaken your asphalt pavement if it isn’t adequately cared for during the hot months. ARM Pavement Services is a full service paving company that specializes in all aspects of asphalt and concrete installation, maintenance, and repair.
Heat & Asphalt
All hard surfaces absorb heat, which not only causes the surface temperature of your pavement to rise, but also the surrounding area through ambient heating. As a result, your parking lots and drives can become an urban heat island. This is the term we use to describe areas with more buildings and roads than green spaces and trees. Soft spors can develop in the surface of your asphalt as the heat absorbtion continues, which creates conditions that contribute to surface damage.
Common Asphalt Heat Issues
Raveling is the slow disintegration of your asphalt from the top down from aggregate loss. Raveling occurs in a downward motion and results in a combination of debris, such as asphalt aggregate and soil, in the damaged area. Raveling can be caused by inadequate compaction and separation of the aggregate and binder. The type of asphalt repair we choose to repair raveling generally depends on how much of the surface is affected and the degree of damage.
Though asphalt is specifically designed to withstand high temperatures, an extremely hot day can soften the surface of your asphalt to the point where small flecks of asphalt adhere to shoes, tires, and anything else moving across the surface. Tracking can also occur when the curing of a new surface is delayed by extraordinarily hot and/or humid conditions, as can happen during the heat of summer.
Cracking is another common type of asphalt damage caused from prolonged heat exposure. Though cracks are more typical in older surfaces, cracking can also affect new structures that weren’t properly installed or aren’t maintained regularly such as with regular sealcoat applications. Cracking generally affects more surfaces that operate with a significant regular traffic load, such as parking lots and roads.
Asphalt Oxidation is the reaction and rearrangement of asphalt molecules in the presence of both oxygen and significant heat. Oxidation slowly weakens the entire structure of the asphalt, causing the surface to become brittle. UV radiation from sunlight causes a chemical reaction where the light oils combine into heavier oils which reduces the number of binding oils in the asphalt. As oxidation progresses, cracking and/or raveling becomes more prevalent.
Heat Damage Prevention
Regular sealcoating protects asphalt against two common weather enemies-precipitation and sunshine. Heat damage can be minimized by reapplying this protective coating when recommended. A great time to sealcoat is during summer hear as it helps the sealing material bond with the surface. As an added bonus, heat lowers the viscosity of the sealcoating, and it flows deeper into cracks and crevices, resulting in a stronger repair.
Install Asphalt & Concrete With A High SRI
The solar reflectance index (SRI) of a surface measures how well it can reflect the sun’s heat. The lower the SRI, the more heat absorption can be expected. A higher SRI will mean more reflectivity. Generally, new concrete has a very high SRI while fresh asphalt will have a low value due to the material’s dark coloration. We can help you choose a material that meets all of your needs and also has a lower SRI if desired.
Proactively Repair Cracks & Damage
If you observe that the asphalt or concrete at your home or business is already showing signs of damage, it’s not too late to act. Making the decision to repair the surface now (rather than later) extends the functional lifespan of your pavement and can save you significantly by postponing the cost of a full repaving. No matter the extent of damage, we are able to create custom repair solutions to reinforce and refresh the paved surfaces you depend on.