Is it Too Cold to Pave?


Is it Too Cold to Pave? asphalt paving “Can asphalt pavement be applied during cold weather?” It is a simple question, but the answer is complicated. Asphalt contractors have to evaluate more than just the temperature registering on the thermometer hanging outside the office to decide whether it is too cold to pave.

• What are the wind speeds? High winds contribute to the speed with which the asphalt cools. Therefore, if conditions are borderline, the wind velocity can sometimes be the deciding factor in whether to pave.
• What is the temperature of the foundation for the pavement? In many cases, the ground temperature, or the temperature of the foundation that will be supporting the pavement, is the most critical factor. Normally, contractors will not apply pavement when the ground temperature is below a certain point. The colder the foundation, the quicker the asphalt will lose its heat, making it difficult — if not impossible — to achieve adequate compaction.
• How far is the asphalt plant from the job-site? The Austin Asphalt is hot when it leaves the plant, and if it cools in transit, it can be unusable upon arrival. Crusts on top of the asphalt or segregation of components would result in pavement of inferior quality with a reduced life expectancy. There are transport methods that can help protect asphalt during transfer, but over long distances, these methods may be insufficient.
• How thick is the pavement to be? The thinner the layer of asphalt, the faster heat will dissipate. This means that in cold weather, crews have a very small window for working a thin layer.
• What is the scope of the job? Paving a new parking lot at a massive mall presents challenges that are very different from repairing the section around the mall’s loading dock. Smaller jobs can often be performed successfully — even in very cold weather — by making use of a technology known as infrared asphalt repair. Basically, hot asphalt is placed in a hotbox that uses an infrared heater and transported to the job site. The hotbox keeps the asphalt at the proper temperature, and as the job progresses, new asphalt can be added and seamlessly mixed to provide a steady supply of material.

Alpha Paving Industries provides a comprehensive range of asphalt services (including paving, repairs, sealcoating and pavement striping) to customers throughout Central Texas. We know how quickly weather conditions can change in this area — that one day, it might be impossible to handle a job that could have easily been performed just the day before. Our highly trained and experienced staff members can help you evaluate whether it is too cold to pave or advise you on any other asphalt-related need. You can ask for a free quote, or give us a call at (512) 677-9001.

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