How Summer Heat Impacts your asphalt pavement. The intense UV radiation from the sun can cause chemical and structural changes within the asphalt that lead to serious issues. Not only can the heat and UV exposure cause the pavement to soften and become more pliable, but it can also lead to cracking, oxidation, raveling and tracking.
Cracking is one of the most common problems that arise from summer heat exposure. The high temperatures cause the asphalt to expand and contract, which leads to cracks forming in the surface. The more extreme the heat, the more prone to cracks your asphalt pavement will be. These cracks can then allow water to seep in and further damage the pavement.
Oxidation is another issue that can occur due to summer heat. As the asphalt is exposed to the intense UV rays of the sun, a chemical reaction occurs in the pavement. This chemical reaction reduces the binding oils inside the asphalt, causing it to weaken and become brittle. This process can make the pavement less durable and more susceptible to cracks, buckles and failure.
Raveling occurs when water or excess moisture gets into cracks, causing a binder cohesion in the asphalt material. The asphalt will ravel along with aggregate and soil, causing cracks. The more cracks occur in the asphalt, the faster additional raveling will occur.
Tracking is another problem that can occur in hot weather. This happens when tires or shoes pick up soft asphalt, which then gets deposited on other surfaces. This can leave unsightly marks on driveways, parking lots, sidewalks and roads.
While summer heat and intense UV exposure can certainly take its toll on asphalt pavement, there are some steps you can take to help protect your investment. First, sealcoating with a high-quality coal tar-free sealcoat can provide a barrier against the elements and help extend the life of your pavement. Second, regular maintenance and repair can help address any problems that do arise.