The Adverse Effects of the Freeze and Thaw Cycle on Pavement

Every winter, the same thing happens: large cracks and potholes appear all over roads, driveways, and parking lots. Why is this phenomenon more prevalent during the colder months than any other time of the year? The main reason has to do with freeze and thaw cycles. The simple act of thawing and refreezing can wreak havoc on asphalt. With proper parking lot maintenance in New Jersey, the worst of the freeze and thaw effect can be avoided.

What is a freeze and thaw cycle?

In the winter, freezing and thawing occur as the temperature goes below and above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The effects of this are probably greatest after a snowstorm. Perhaps a few days later, the temperature is in the 40s, and the piles of snow begin to melt, and the water seeps into any open cracks in the pavement. At night, the temperature dips below freezing, and the water that accumulated in the cracks expands as it freezes. This expansion pushes the blacktop apart, widening and deepening the cracks. As vehicles drive over it, they further weaken the structure of the asphalt, potentially causing it to fail prematurely.

When should you contact a paving company for repairs?

With the frequent fluctuations of temperature that we experience in the Jersey and Philadelphia areas, it’s best to repair your driveway, road, or parking lot as soon as you notice cracks forming. Seal coating can be applied to greatly extend the life of the pavement by preventing water from entering the crack and thus causing further damage.

What happens if cracks are not repaired?

When cracks in the pavement are not repaired, they can rapidly expand in a matter of weeks. Eventually, this can also lead to the creation of potholes. While a small pothole might not be particularly troubling, a larger pothole can cause damage to vehicles — and if the pothole is in your parking lot, you can bet that you customers are going to be very upfront in telling you about the problem.

When you need parking lot maintenance in Northeast Philadelphia for your commercial property, be sure to give Stanley Paving a call. We will promptly and reliably repair your asphalt, allowing it to weather many more seasons to come.