Tough and long-standing at first glance, asphalt and concrete can become feeble if not adequately cared for in a hot climate. What Florida lacks in bone-chilling winters it makes up in months-long, searing heat. Pavemax is a full-service paving company in Florida, specializing in maintaining all types of asphalt and concrete surfaces. Contact us today for a free estimate!
How Does Heat Affect Asphalt?
Every hard surface absorbs heat, which causes not only the surface temperature to rise but also the surrounding environment through ambient heating. As a result, the area becomes an urban heat island, the term given to many urban environments with more buildings and roads than green spaces and trees. Soft spots may develop in the surface as heat absorption continues, creating prime conditions for surface damage.
Common Asphalt Issues Caused By Heat
Raveling works in a downward motion and results in a combination of debris, such as asphalt aggregate and soil, in the damaged area. It can have several causes, including inadequate compaction and separation of the aggregate and binder. The type of asphalt repair used for raveling generally depends on how much of the surface is affected and the degree of damage.
Though it’s designed to withstand high temperatures — the new hot mix is several hundred degrees when poured — an extremely hot day can soften the surface to the point where small flecks of asphalt adhere to shoes, tires, and anything else moving across the surface. Tracking may also occur when the curing of a new surface is delayed by hot and humid conditions, as can happen during most Florida summers.
Cracking is a common type of asphalt damage caused from prolonged heat exposure. Though cracking is more typical in older surfaces, it can affect new structures that were poorly installed or aren’t properly maintained, such as with regular sealcoat applications. It generally affects surfaces with a regular traffic load, such as parking lots and roads.
Oxidation weakens the entire structure of the asphalt, causing the surface to become brittle. UV radiation from sunlight causes a chemical reaction where the light oils combine into heavier oils which reduces the number of binding oils in the asphalt. As oxidation progresses, cracking and/or raveling becomes more prevalent.
Preventing Heat Damage To Your Asphalt
Sealcoat On Schedule
Since sealcoat protects asphalt against two of Florida’s specialties — rain and sunshine — heat damage can be prevented or minimized by reapplying this protectant on schedule. A great time to sealcoat is when the heat is on as it helps the materials bond with the surface. Plus, since the heat lowers the viscosity, it flows into deep cracks and crevices, protecting the surface from the inside out.
Install Asphalt & Concrete With A High SRI
The solar reflectance index (SRI) of a surface measures how well it can reflect incoming solar heat. The lower the SRI, the more heat absorption while a higher SRI — up to 100 — means more reflectance. Generally, new concrete has a high SRI while fresh asphalt, because of the material’s dark coloration, has a low value. Pavemax can help you choose a material that both meets your needs and has a high SRI.
Repair Cracks & Damage As It Appears
If the asphalt or concrete at your home or business is already showing signs of damage, it’s not too late to make amends. Repairing the surface now (rather than later) extends the functional lifespan and can save you the time and cost of a full replacement. No matter the extent of damage, Pavemax creates custom concrete repair solutions to reinforce and refresh the asphalt surface you depend on.