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Can We Pave Asphalt In The Winter? How About Rain?

by | Nov 5, 2018

Asphalt paving companies are frequently approached about the best dates and times for different projects—especially when the days start cooling down or the weather turns. And our answers are simple: It’s always best to pave asphalt during warmer weather, NOT during the Michigan winter, and moderate to heavy rains will cause delays. 

Winter: Temperature Matters

Asphalt paving is best carried out with enough ambient heat to keep the material warm as it is put in place. Cold weather causes the material to harden prematurely, giving crews much less time to nail the application and set down a smooth, level, appealing surface. Cold weather and rapid hardening can cause bumps, seams, and even delays or do-overs if worst comes to worst. 

This is especially true for thin applications like pothole repairs, patching, or overlays, which are best finished in the summer, late spring, or early fall. Paving jobs that are two inches thick or thicker, however, may be okay even in cooler weather with temperatures as low as the 50s. It depends on the situation, the project, and the material being used.

Rain: Dryer is Better

Asphalt is made from a mixture of different materials that are laid down as a liquid or semi-solid before they dry and solidify into pavement. This mix includes different types of oils, and oil and water (much like asphalt and rain) just don’t mix. 

If asphalt is laid down in the rain or even on wet ground the moisture will repel the material wherever it comes into contact, pushing the oil up through the mix and causing irregularities like cracks and craters to form throughout the material. This damage will rapidly form into potholes as the surface is used, causing the entire lot to fail prematurely. 

While it would be great for everyone to be able to pave in all weather conditions, the danger posed by wet conditions is just too great and requires responsible crews to wait for dry conditions. A high quality paving result is always worth a rain delay. 

With colder weather coming there is no better time than today to arrange service before the winter, or to schedule your projects ahead for our busiest periods in the spring and summer. If you need high quality paving in West Michigan, call the Holland-based paving professionals at Stripe-A-Lot for a free estimate today! 

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