Whether you’re installing a new asphalt driveway or replacing an existing one— there are many things you have to consider. Choosing the right time of year to do so is of the most important ones because of the long-term effects that it can have on your new pavement. You’re most likely hoping to get this project done right away, but paving at the wrong time can end up being a hugely expensive mistake.
Asphalt is a durable material for driveways and can last for many years to come. Regardless, paving under the wrong conditions is just asking for early deterioration and premature repairs. On the flip side, being mindful of temperature estimates and other environmental factors sets you up for success and will save you loads of cash in the future.
Late Spring to Early Fall
Of course, this timeframe varies depending on which region you live in. Areas that are warm year-round, like Florida or Texas, have a longer acceptable window for paving than the colder northern areas. Asphalt paving projects are best performed in 70° F or higher. While it’s possible to lay asphalt at temperatures as low as 50° F, it’s definitely not ideal.
Why Does the Time of Year Matter?
The time of year matters because ambient temperatures, surface temperatures, and humidity levels all play huge roles in how paving projects turn out. Hot mix asphalt remains manageable and pliable for much longer in warmer weather. Asphalt mix must stay between 175° F and 275° F in order to compact and set correctly. Higher temperatures will ensure that the asphalt pavement doesn’t harden too quickly. The asphalt is easier to pour and spread during the warmer months, allowing paving contractors to take their time in delivering a smooth and durable outcome.
Laying asphalt during the colder winter months is much more of a challenge. When temperatures are below 50° F, the amount of time paving crews have to work with the product is drastically shortened. Once the asphalt mix is exposed to the cold conditions, it hardens much quicker and is more difficult to pour. If the ground is already semi-frozen, the asphalt will crumble and break free from the binder.
Aside from temperatures, precipitation is the other weather factor to be concerned about. Early springtime usually means melting snow and rainfall. Those wet conditions cause water to seep down into your new driveway, which negatively effects the structural integrity of the pavement and the binder. Also, paving over wet ground can damage the base layers of the asphalt and cause it to cool down too fast. It’s best to put off your paving project until the weather conditions are dryer, later in the year.
A driveway paving project requirers proper planning and the consideration of many factors to get the biggest bang for your buck. Choosing the right time of year is directly related to the longevity of your new driveway and future costs of maintenance/repairs. No matter what time of year it is, you’ll want to start planning ASAP. Waiting until paving contractors are in their busy season can often cause your wait time to be longer than you’d like for your new driveway. The professionals at Pavement Solutions have decades of paving experience, top-of-the-line equipment, and expert knowledge. Get in contact with us today to schedule your free consultation and estimate!