How Cold Weather Affects the Paving Process

Cold weather isn’t often an issue in the Sunshine State when it comes to laying asphalt, but it can be from time to time.

Cold weather can have a negative impact on the asphalt paving process in a number of ways, making it as undesirable as hot, dry conditions. Explore all the ways cold temperatures can affect the paving process when it comes to laying asphalt.

Temperature and the Paving Process

Cold weather affects the process of laying asphalt in a number of ways. The main issue is that cold weather affects the compaction level of the asphalt, which is the optimal density of the asphalt mixture. Without effective compaction, the quality and longevity of an asphalt surface suffers.

Cold increases the viscosity of the asphalt mixture, meaning the mixture is less fluid and cannot be compacted as easily or as well while going through the rollers as is possible during warmer temperatures. When this happens, the aggregate in the asphalt mixture cannot achieve the optimal interlocked configuration

Colder also shrinks the window for compaction once the asphalt is laid. Factors that have to be taken into account include:
1. Air temperature.
2. Surface/base temperature. This is the greatest factor for impacting compaction once the asphalt is laid.
3. Wind conditions. Wind speeds also affect how quickly asphalt cools.
4. Solar radiation, or the amount of energy hitting the earth’s surface.
5. The thickness of the asphalt being laid.

The asphalt will cool much quicker in cold weather, obviously, and this will mean the asphalt has a much shorter time to achieve optimal compaction.

Pavers can utilize calculations to estimate compaction time, adjusting factors like increasing mix production temperatures to achieve optimal compaction time. Without the experience and know-how to adjust these factors during cold temperatures, an asphalt paving job will not have the quality or longevity it should.

Tucker Paving has 25 years of experience in asphalt installation, maintenance, and repair, including experience with col-weather asphalt installation. Contact us by calling (863) 299-2262 or going online for your next asphalt installation, maintenance, or repair project.