Many people are aware that asphalt mixes are hot when they are applied. Unfortunately, this knowledge has led to a myth that hot mix asphalt can be installed in every season. If you need asphalt parking lot paving, you should be aware that it may be impossible to accommodate you during cold weather. The reason primarily involves the principle of thermal exchange and its impact on mix compaction.
Why Does Thermal Exchange Matter for Wintertime Asphalt Parking Lot Paving?
The principle of thermal exchange states that whenever two materials having different temperatures come into contact, they will seek an equilibrium in temperature. In plain language, this means that the colder material will get warmer, and the hotter material will get cooler. Once the two temperatures are the same, the materials stop exchanging heat. When a parking lot paving company receives a truckload of asphalt mix from the batch plant, the temperature of the mix will be in the neighborhood of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperature of the ground will be significantly less, especially during the winter months. Once the surface temperature falls below approximately 50 degrees, the asphalt mix will lose its heat too rapidly for a paving contractor to achieve the necessary compaction. It is not just the surface temperature that can affect thermal exchange. The ambient temperature, wind velocity, humidity level, and sunlight can all affect the thermal exchange rate.
How Does Thermal Exchange Affect the Compaction of Asphalt Parking Lot Paving?
Hot mix asphalt contains a binder known as asphalt cement. This is the glue that holds an asphalt pavement together. As the mix temperature decreases, the asphalt cement thickens. As long as the asphalt cement is thin enough to flow freely, a paving contractor can compact the asphalt mix to be dense and smooth with interlocked aggregates. Otherwise, the pavement will have air pockets, a bumpy surface, and an abbreviated life. The crew members have only minutes to achieve compaction before excessive heat loss occurs. Asphalt on Long Island tends to cool rapidly during the winter months, making it impossible to achieve adequate compaction.
Are There Other Factors That Impact Asphalt Parking Lot Paving in the Winter?
One major factor that can make commercial paving contractors leery of paving in the winter is the thickness of each asphalt lift. Many contractors offer both new construction and asphalt overlays. On most projects, a new pavement will require thicker lifts than an asphalt overlay. The thicker the lift, the longer the asphalt mix can retain its heat. Therefore, even under identical environmental conditions, there may be some asphalt paving projects that cannot be undertaken, but the conditions may be acceptable for other projects.
Trust Royal Pavement Solutions for Guidance on Wintertime Projects
Royal Pavement is a Long Island paving contractor, and we value the satisfaction of our customers more than anything else.. Whether you need asphalt paving, sealcoating, parking lot striping, concrete flatwork, asphalt crack sealing, asphalt milling, or asphalt repairs, we will tell you if it is not advisable to perform the work in cold weather. In addition to these services, we offer site work, building maintenance, sweeping and portering, and concrete repairs. We have an exceptional reputation that is based on our honesty, workmanship, professionalism, and customer service. For a free quote or consultation, call 844-777-7924, complete our online form, or email Kenny@RoyalPavementSolutions.com.