10 Ways to Mitigate the Effects of Snow and Ice on Your Commercial Paving

January, 30, 2023 By CASSIDY PAVING 6 min read

When you spend the time, effort, and budget to complete a commercial paving project, the last thing you want is for a snowy, icy winter to roll through and wreak havoc on your asphalt. In fact, snow and ice are some of the primary culprits of asphalt damage and deterioration – and left untended, they can cause damage far beyond the aesthetic and go deep into the structural layers of your foundation.

So, instead of waiting until spring or summer to address issues, here are ten tips to help you mitigate these risks now – right in the middle of winter.

1. Understand the Freeze/Thaw Cycle

For property owners and managers in the Northeast United States, winter can bring quite a lot in terms of lasting effects. And for those who don’t necessarily understand what’s happening, this damage can be an unwelcome shock when spring rolls around. Having a basic understanding of the freeze/thaw cycle can help property managers to take better care of their asphalt and anticipate certain types of damage before they even see it.

Does snow damage asphalt? The short answer is: yes. Snow and ice can create potholes and cracks that lead to structural damage. When frozen water accumulates, then thaws in warmer weather, the thawed water can seep into the surface of your asphalt. When temperatures get chillier again, that groundwater can then freeze, causing buckling and widening existing cracks and potholes. This freeze/thaw cycle – taking place multiple times over the course of just one winter – can spell trouble for your facility’s surfaces.

2. Remove Snow and Ice Promptly

It’s not necessarily snow or ice itself that causes issues with asphalt, but rather the buildup of these elements when left alone. That’s why hiring snow removal services to take care of your asphalt all winter is critical.

Snow removal could involve salting, shoveling (opt for plastic shovels rather than metal to prevent damage to your sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots), blowing, and snow plowing. Remove snow and ice quickly to avoid any buildup that could cause damage later.

3. Use Salt Sparingly

If snow and ice removal is so crucial, why not heap on layers of salt to help prevent damage from occurring? Well, the truth is that rock salt itself is a coarse and corrosive material. And if used too liberally, it can actually cause even more damage than snowy or icy patches on your concrete. Pitting is one of those negative effects, leaving small divots in your concrete.

The good news is that asphalt generally holds up well to salt. Asphalt comprised of stone, sand, and petroleum will not see the same level of wear and tear that more porous, less durable materials will. The bottom line? Salt sparingly on concrete; salt as needed on asphalt.

4. Hire a Reputable Snow Removal Company

Keep in mind that snow plows qualify as heavy machinery, and just like salting or shoveling, they can cause damage. Therefore, always hire an experienced snow removal company with a team that’s knowledgeable about your area and the best methods to use.

Besides causing asphalt damage, snow plowing – especially at the edges of your asphalt – can cause deterioration to the ground. Snow plows can inadvertently lift otherwise healthy layers of ground cover, so work with a company that knows what it’s doing and takes the best care possible of your landscaping.

5. Take Care of Any Damage Quickly

You’re not alone if you’re wondering: How do I care for my asphalt driveway in the winter? While paving isn’t typically an option during icy, snowy months, minor repairs like cut and patch jobs or pothole filling can sometimes be completed – cold patching, in particular.

A good asphalt paving team will be able to assess any damage you see over the course of the winter months and advise you on when to complete the repair. Often, potholes and cracks can be filled in quickly and efficiently, protecting your foundations from seeping groundwater and expansion with future freezes.

6. Protect Your Driveway With a Sealant

If the question you’re asking instead is, how do I protect my asphalt driveway?, you might consider a seal coat. This layer of protective material can be applied during warmer months to effectively guard your driveway against damage during the harsh winter.

Besides protecting against natural elements like snow, ice, and cold temperatures, sealant can also shield your driveway from damage due to oil and gas spills. A seal coat application should only need to occur about every two to three years for optimal protection.

7. Get Informed on Insulation

Frost heaving is another winter phenomenon that can contribute to asphalt damage. This happens in cold climates like New England, when the ground freezes and penetrates the layers beneath the soil line. Not only is the top layer of soil full of frozen water, but the water in the layers beneath begins to diffuse upward towards the surface, eventually hitting a wall of ice.

At best, this causes a “heave,” or an upward thrust in the top layer of your soil – and eventually your asphalt. At worst, this heave can cause total fracture of the soil and anything lying on top of it, including your asphalt. If your property is particularly susceptible to frost heave, you might consider an extra layer of insulation in the form of ground heating systems – common in mountain towns and ski resorts. But if this seems too elaborate for your property, even insulating with a material like a polystyrene foam can help prevent frost heave.

8. Time Your Asphalt Paving Projects Wisely

Can you pave in the winter? Not usually. Since asphalt requires specific heating and cooling points, chilly winter temperatures typically mean that asphalt paving is a no-go, especially for colder regions of the country.

But as we said before, some projects may be able to get done even during colder months – like minor filling of cracks and potholes. Of course, working with a reputable asphalt paving company should ensure that you’re never given the wrong advice about the optimal timing of the asphalt paving projects you wish to complete.

9. Take Stock of Damage and Deterioration

So, what’s the best way to figure out which projects to prioritize once winter is over? Start by taking a walking tour of your property – at least once every couple of weeks during winter – and jotting down any damage or deterioration you see. If there are minor issues, these may be able to be taken care of quickly while winter is still upon you. More major asphalt projects may need to wait until the weather warms up again.

Once you’ve assessed the damage and have your list, reach out to an experienced asphalt paving company to help you prioritize the repairs. You may need something as comprehensive as full-depth reconstruction, but you may also be able to go for overlay and resurfacing. Winter is also a great time to start planning your budget for asphalt repaving and repair. Determine what you can afford to complete this year and what may need to wait for more funding.

10. Hire Cassidy Paving to Take Care of Your Asphalt All Year

Winter isn’t the only time to take care of the asphalt on your property. In fact, by guarding yourself – in warmer months – against all the different types of damage that winter can present, you will set yourself up for success in the long run. Cassidy Paving, headquartered in Haverhill, MA, knows winter weather. We have been working for decades with clients on commercial lots, capital improvement projects, and government facilities throughout New England, and we’ve got the case studies and testimonials to prove our clients’ satisfaction. We believe so much in our ability to provide high-quality service that we actually offer a satisfaction guarantee on all new paving services.

Our team of subject matter experts knows how to assess asphalt damage, scope out projects with skill, and schedule not only according to your needs, but the optimum timing in regards to weather. Our full-time crew has over 100 years of combined experience and is bonded with full liability and full Workers’ Compensations Insurance. From paving brand new major roadways to totally replacing driveway or parking lot asphalt, we possess the expertise, the skill, and the tools to get your job done on time and on budget.

Not only do we work diligently to keep your asphalt safe for pedestrian and vehicle traffic, but we can provide you with services to improve property accessibility. This spring and summer, in addition to making repairs to the damage caused by winter weather, Cassidy Paving can also help increase your property’s user-friendliness by installing ADA-compliant curbs and ramps wherever required. Best of all, we are certainly here to help you with snow and ice removal. Cassidy Paving offers per storm, per season, and per push snow removal rates to keep your office or facility parking lots, driveways, and walkways clear no matter the weather. Contact us today to speak with one of our friendly representatives who can set up an initial consultation. We will carefully assess your asphalt damage and help you decide on what asphalt projects to prioritize in 2023.

Filed Under: Asphalt

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Based in Haverhill, MA, Cassidy Paving is a commercial paving company serving southern NH and Massachusetts.

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