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Is It Too Cold to Pave? How Weather Affects Paving

Is It Too Cold to Pave? How Weather Affects Paving

Paving is one type of construction that can be significantly impacted by temperature. What tends to matter more than the actual ambient temperature is the ground temperature and moisture levels. Even if it’s 45 degrees outside in the morning, the ground itself is likely colder from the night before, and its important for the ground to be adequately warm to lay asphalt.

Proper compaction requires the asphalt to remain above a certain temperature during the process. If the ground is too cold it will leach the heat out of the asphalt too quickly, which means it may settle before paving crews can finish compacting and smoothing it. Evaporating rainwater also has a cooling effect, which can result in similar complications if a job isn’t scheduled appropriately to minimize these issues.

There are ways around low temperatures for small scale jobs, such as filling potholes. Asphalt pavers with infrared paving equipment can utilize heaters and hot boxes to keep the asphalt dry and maintain a suitable temperature throughout the job. This equipment generally can’t be used for larger jobs, like repaving a road or an entire parking lot, because the infrared asphalt heaters don’t cover a large enough area.

How Cold Is Too Cold for Asphalt Paving in Seattle?

The real issue with temperature is its impact on our ability to properly compact the asphalt before it cools too much. As a rule of thumb a thin, 1.5-inch layer of asphalt needs to be entirely compacted within 16 minutes of its application if the ambient temperature is in the 40 to 45-degree Fahrenheit range.

When hot mix asphalt is delivered to a job site it should be in the 275 to 300-degree Fahrenheit range. During initial application, the asphalt should still be at least 220 to 290-degrees Fahrenheit. If the asphalt dips below approximately 185-degrees Fahrenheit before compaction is complete, its consistency stiffens up too much to finish the job properly.

Although we do get cold in Seattle, we don’t deal with the excessive lows experienced by much of the country. At Lakeridge Paving Company, we are experts at scheduling jobs and working efficiently to make sure we’re laying asphalt in optimal conditions to provide attractive, reliable results.

Rain Is the Real Paving Danger Posed by Seattle Weather

The oils in asphalt repel water, and it is penetration of water that often causes cracks and potholes to form. It’s virtually impossible to prevent these negative effects from occurring if asphalt is applied during heavy rains. Even saturated ground from a previous day’s heavy rain can cause complications, which can make applying asphalt in Seattle a more difficult job.

Of course, paving still has to happen, especially in a bustling, growing metro area like Seattle. We’ve been a local paving contractor since 1968, so our asphalt specialists have a thorough understanding of local weather conditions and unparalleled familiarity with the materials we use.

We’ll never perform road, driveway or parking lot paving projects if we know the weather is going to result in less than stellar results. That being said, we also know just how much moisture is too much, and when a little drizzle won’t impact our asphalt paving results.

If it does get too wet to do a job right we’ll reschedule, but most of the time we’re able to work around weather forecast and conditions to make sure jobs get done on time as promised.

Don’t Let the Naysayers Stop You From Calling

Before you assume it’s too cold or wet to hire an asphalt paving company for your job, give us a call at 888-403-8290. Our experienced paving professionals would be happy to explain the relationship between paving and the weather. We can make sure the time we schedule for your job works for you and the Seattle forecast.

You can request a quote online or contact us at 888-403-8290 today to learn more!