7 Reasons Winter Weather Causes Asphalt Holes and Cracks

7 Reasons Winter Weather Causes Asphalt Holes and Cracks

Winter weather can be cold, snowy, icy, and sometimes wet. What you probably don’t associate it with is causing cracks in your asphalt. But winter weather can change the composition of asphalt to make it more brittle and vulnerable to cracks. And once there’s a crack in your asphalt, you know what happens next? It gets even colder! Check out these seven reasons winter weather causes asphalt holes and cracks.

1. Snow Melt, De-icers, and Snowplows

One of the main reasons winter weather causes asphalt holes and cracks is how snow melts, de-icers, and plows interact with the pavement. When the snow melts, it can seep into small cracks in the pavement. This can cause the cracks to expand and become more prominent.

Asphalt is a porous material, so harsh chemicals can easily damage it. Deicing chemicals can seep into the asphalt and cause it to deteriorate, resulting in cracks and holes.

Snowplows can also cause damage to asphalt. When a snowplow pushes snow, it can also push small rocks and other debris. These materials can hit the asphalt and cause chips and cracks. Over time, these tiny chips and cracks can turn into large holes and cracks.

2. Freeze/Thaw Cycle

When water seeps into small cracks in asphalt and freezes, it expands and causes the cracks to grow. This process is called “freeze-thaw” damage and is a leading cause of asphalt deterioration during winter.

While freeze-thaw damage is most commonly seen in the northern United States, where winters are harsh, and temperatures dip below freezing regularly, it can also occur in milder climates if there is a prolonged period of cold weather. Even a heavy snowfall can cause freeze-thaw damage if the temperatures remain below freezing for several days afterward.

Applying a sealant to the pavement’s surface can help fill in small cracks and prevent water from seeping in. If the damage is already present, you may need to have the affected area repaired or replaced by a professional.

3. Heavy Snowfall

Heavy snowfall can weigh down asphalt, causing it to crack and crumble. The weight of the snow can also cause the asphalt to sink, creating potholes. Asphalt is designed to withstand a certain amount of weight, but when that weight exceeds the limit, the asphalt can no longer support itself and will break apart.

4. Pooling Water

One of the biggest problems that winter weather causes for asphalt is pooling water. When water puddles on the asphalt surface, it seeps into the cracks and weakens the pavement’s structure. Over time, this can cause the asphalt to crumble and form large holes.

If you have an asphalt driveway or parking lot, it’s essential to take steps to prevent pooling water. First, ensure that your gutters are clean and clear so they can properly drain water away from your pavement. Second, seal any cracks or holes in your asphalt so water cannot penetrate the surface. By taking these simple steps, you can help prolong the life of your asphalt and prevent costly repairs down the road.

5. Ice Storms

Ice storms are a common cause of asphalt holes and cracks. When ice accumulates on the surface of the asphalt, it can create a layer of slippery ice. This makes it more difficult for vehicles to grip the road, which can cause them to slip and slide. As a result, the asphalt can crack and break apart.

6. Salt Can Damage Asphalt

When salt is used on roads to melt ice, it can seep into asphalt and weaken it. This can cause the asphalt to crack and crumble, leading to potholes and other damages. Salt can also corrode metal objects, which can further damage asphalt.

7. Asphalt is More Porous in Cold Weather

Water can seep into the asphalt more quickly in cold weather because, at this time, the sun’s rays are weaker in winter. This means the asphalt doesn’t have time to dry thoroughly and cure after its application. This can cause the asphalt to become brittle and crack when exposed to extremely cold temperatures.

Asphalt holes and cracks are common during winter weather, but there are ways to prevent them. You can avoid these costly repairs by using suitable materials and taking proper care of your asphalt pavement. Winter weather is tough on asphalt, but with some preparation, you can keep your pavement in good condition all season long.