Extreme Heat vs Asphalt | PNW Battle

WSDOT Tacoma SR162

Consecutive days of record setting heat has caused buckling and heat-related damage to our roads in the Pacific Northwest. Although asphalt and concrete seem tough and long-standing, they can become weakened if not adequately cared for in a hot climate. Asphalt is more malleable than concrete, which gives it many advantages, but it is more susceptible to damage under extreme heat. Excessive heat can cause softening, sloughing and pitting, and might deform your asphalt under heavy loads.

In a tweet, WSDOT Tacoma reported that heat has caused the asphalt to rise roughly four inches across both lanes along State Route 162 in South Prairie. Several places along I5 also buckled in the heat, forcing lane closures.

There is not a standard process for building roadways in the US. Asphalt concrete is the most common used medium for road paving. It consists of a mixture of crushed stone, gravel and sand known as “aggregate” and mixed with a soft, black “binder.” With the crude oil remaining, after refining products such as petroleum and kerosene, creates the binder. The specific qualities needed in the binder depend on the region. An example would be in an arid environment like Arizona, using a stiff binder that will withstand high temperatures. In places like Seattle, a softer binder can be used where it is unlikely to get as hot. Therefore, the normal summertime temperatures of Phoenix wreaked havoc on asphalt in a place like Bellingham.

Sealing the Deal

Asphalt must be able to withstand various types of wear and tear. The intense rays of the sun are a primary threat to the appearance and structure of your commercial pavement. As asphalt disintegrates, small cracks begin to form and threaten to become larger, more dangerous cracks or even potholes. Cracking can lead to significant water damage, which can be expensive to repair. Sealcoating can minimize the effects of the sun on your pavement by filling any micro-fissures on the surface of the pavement, and helping to prevent signs of aging, oxidation, and cracking.

Eventually asphalt can start to fade and have an old look to it. When environmental factors such as the sun threaten the look of your asphalt, a simple solution is to apply a sealant on it. Sealcoating can restore the original look of your commercial space and keep it looking newer longer.

Sealcoating protects your paved surfaces from the damaging effects of the weather in general and the sun in particular. It helps slows oxidation by fighting the signs of aging and keeping the color from fading and cracks from forming. Sealcoating is the maintenance tool you need to protect the investment that you have made in your pavement.

Our experienced associates can help you find the right asphalt sealant for your property. Contact us for more information and an estimate on protecting your asphalt.