Living in The Sunshine State, it’s no secret that asphalt pavement can get really hot. Asphalt pavement in direct sunshine has been recorded at 140 degrees Fahrenheit! Since asphalt pavement is usually a dark gray to black, it absorbs a high amount of sunlight—around 80 to 95 percent—and retains that as heat. Hot asphalt can increase the ambient temperature of the immediate surroundings, but the sun’s UV rays and constant heating can be bad for asphalt pavement as well. While you can’t control the weather, you can take some steps to keep your asphalt pavement as cool as possible.

Keeping Pavement Cool

Your choices for keeping your asphalt pavement cool boil down to basically two options:

  1. Provide shade. Shading your asphalt from the sun’s hot rays is one option for keeping the temperature of your pavement down as much as possible. This can be achieved by creating overhead shade, such as building a roof over a patio, installing a sunshade, or erecting a carport over a driveway. Another option is to plant trees that will eventually offer shade over your asphalt pavement.
  2. Alter your pavement’s heat absorption properties. Asphalt pavement gets so hot because its dark color allows it to absorb a lot of the sun’s rays. You can alter the pavement’s absorption properties one of two ways. First, you can alter the color of the asphalt pavement. Cool surface treatments exist for asphalt, concrete, and a variety of other materials by essentially changing the color of the pavement to something lighter that absorbs less sunlight.

Your second option for altering your pavement’s heat absorption properties is to apply reflective material to your existing asphalt or have a reflective material added to the asphalt pavement mixture prior to installation. This reflective material will reflect sunlight rather than absorb it, much like a silver sunshade for a car’s windshield reflects sunlight away from the interior of a vehicle. Since the asphalt can’t absorb as much sunlight, it will be much cooler.

Hot asphalt pavement isn’t just uncomfortable for people and pets near the pavement; it’s also bad for the asphalt itself. The sun’s UV rays break down the asphalt’s binder, leading to eventual cracking and crumbling without proper maintenance. Keeping your asphalt cool and shaded is good for you and your asphalt!

Tucker Paving is a paving construction company with over 25 years of experience in the asphalt and concrete paving industry! Contact us online, or call us at (863) 299-2262 for assistance with your next asphalt paving project.