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The Role Of Temperature In Paving Asphalt

Temperature is key when it comes to asphalt paving projects. Paving contractors take temperatures into account when formulating a paving plan. If the weather is too hot, the pavement will become soft and may cause problems down the road. If it’s too cold, the asphalt won’t cure properly and could lead to future issues. In this blog post, Black and Yellow Pavement Inc. will tell you everything you need to know about pavement temperatures and asphalt paving. Keep reading to learn more!

There are three types of temperatures crucial to paving asphalt:

  1. Ambient Temperature – The temperature of the air;
  2. Subgrade Temperature – The temperature of the ground or the existing asphalt; and
  3. Asphalt Temperature – The temperature of the asphalt mix.

An ideal combination of the three temperatures will offer a suitable environment for laying a durable asphalt surface.

Ambient Temperature.

The ambient temperature is always a consideration when paving asphalt. Paving contractors prefer to work with a minimum ambient temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with the forecast rising throughout the day. If the air temperature is any lower, the asphalt will cool down faster and cause problems in the binding and compaction of the pavement.

If it is forecasted to be windy, this will remove the heat from the asphalt much quicker than is required. It is another essential factor that you will need to consider before beginning your asphalt paving project.

Subgrade Temperature.

The subgrade temperature is also vital to the success of the pavement surface. An infrared thermometer can track this temperature. The subgrade should be a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and forecasted to rise throughout the day. Paving contractors avoid laying asphalt when the temperature is too cool. The low ground temperature means that the asphalt will be quick to cool down, leading to inadequate compaction and failure of the pavement.

Asphalt Temperature.

Asphalt temperature or Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) is another critical factor in a successful pavement. The asphalt mix temperature is important because it controls how well the asphalt will bind with itself and the aggregate. Asphalt is prepared around 300-350F and applied around 220-290F for pavement installation. If the material’s temperature drops below 185F, the result is a weak, poorly bound pavement. Asphalt that is too hot or applied at ambient temperatures exceeding 100F will cause the binder to overheat, leading to problems such as raveling, slippage, & corrugation.

Remember, the HMA mix may be hot before pouring, but a low ambient temperature, wind, lack of sun, or cool ground temperature are all factors that can cool the asphalt mix below the desired temperature much more quickly than required, causing it not to bind appropriately and fall apart.

When Should I Schedule My Asphalt Pavement Project?

Unless you want a weak and brittle pavement, asphalt paving in cold weather below 50 degrees Fahrenheit is not recommended. Asphalt paving projects are typically scheduled during the warmer months in Ontario. To ensure that your asphalt pavement is durable and long-lasting, you must keep the temperature trifecta in mind before beginning any laying.

The experts at Black and Yellow Pavement Inc. are here to help you with all your asphalt laying, repairing, and seal coating needs. If you are in or near the Greater Toronto Area, Burlington, or Oakville in Ontariocontact us or get a free estimate for your next asphalt paving project!