Contractor Tips Blog

Aug
30

When Can Asphalt Pavement Be Installed?

Asphalt is an excellent material for paving driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, walking paths, and other areas.  It is much less expensive than concrete and can be poured and ready for use in just a few days.  Unlike concrete, asphalt paving has some flexibility and it is resistant to cracking due to tree roots growing under the surface.  This flexibility is an important advantage in colder climates because asphalt is less affected by frost heave than concrete.

However, in colder climates, an asphalt driveway, parking lot or other area should not be installed in cold weather.  In warm climates, asphalt can be installed throughout the year but in other areas, asphalt should not be installed in the winter months or any time the temperature is too low.  The minimum temperature for installing asphalt depends primarily on the thickness of the asphalt, but other weather conditions such as wind and rain need to be considered as well.

Asphalt is heated to over 300 degrees and poured while it is hot.  It hardens as it cools and it needs to be graded and smoothed before it hardens.  In lower temperatures it will harden too quickly and the result will be a lumpy, uneven, and roughly finished driveway or parking lot.

Most experts recommend a minimum temperature of 70 degrees for laying a thin layer  (1 1/2 inches) of asphalt.  Temperatures can be a little lower if you are laying a thicker layer.  However, wind and moisture can also cause the asphalt to harden faster and need to be taken into account.  In fact, if there is too much moisture your asphalt paving contractor will probably recommend waiting until conditions improve.

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