What Happens if You Pave Before a Sudden Storm?

June, 16, 2021 By CASSIDY PAVING 3 min read
Cassidy Paving contractors paving after a storm
The weather can play a significant role in how well your new asphalt pavement construction settles and maintains its functionality for years to come. Especially in the New England area, the weather can be unpredictable, making it hard for asphalt paving contractors to determine the best time to pave. If you’ve scheduled asphalt services, make sure that your asphalt installers have a good idea of the forecast and what to do if rain happens during or right after the paving process. Because asphalt is a mixture of bitumen and gravel, rainwater can cause significant issues. Although light rain won’t be detrimental to the overall functionality of your pavement, you should still be aware of the dangers that sudden storms can bring.

How Storms Impact Pavement

Why Storms Are an Issue

Sudden storms can cause issues for newly applied asphalt that wouldn’t be an issue for well-established asphalt. If you pave shortly before a downpour, your asphalt paving has not had time to cure before getting drenched. This is an issue because the bitumen in your asphalt mixture is made up of petroleum and does not do well when exposed to water. A sudden storm will cause the non-cured bitumen to separate from the gravel, and it cannot be reversed once the process begins. When the asphalt doesn’t have time to compact, each layer (from the blacktop to the subbase) is susceptible to deterioration from rainwater. If you can avoid rain oversaturation early on, your asphalt will better repel water and even chemicals going forward.

Threats of Excess Water

Depending on how volatile the storm is, any water that permeates the asphalt before it is cured can cause movement and wash away aggregate. Water exposure too soon keeps your asphalt from compacting. It cannot provide the durability you expect from your new asphalt driveway or parking lot, especially if the rain happens within 72 hours after the installation. Because the fresh asphalt blacktop hasn’t cured within this timeframe, the rainwater will soak through the layers. Your new asphalt can quickly become waterlogged, causing immediate deterioration such as cracks and asphalt potholes. The new asphalt will do its best to drain the water, but standing water isn’t the biggest problem. Early exposure to water can threaten your curbing and drainage system because the foundation isn’t ready to support the excess weight.

How to Avoid These Problems

The bottom line is that water and asphalt do not mix. Any excess water on your freshly installed residential asphalt drive or commercial parking lot will cause issues. The best way to avoid these problems is to work with an asphalt paving company that is local to your area and understands the typical weather patterns. At Cassidy Paving, we know that the New England climate can bring many surprises, especially when it comes to sudden storms. We keep a close eye on forecasts and typically do not start large paving projects when we know that the weather is unpredictable. Our crew has also used a staggered paving technique for parking lot paving that gets the work done without additional stress. If you need help planning your new asphalt paving project, give our team a call today at 866-978-9788. We offer free estimates for residential, commercial, and industrial paving throughout New England.
Filed Under: Asphalt

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Cassidy Asphalt Paving

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

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Mission Statement: Delivering commercial and industrial paving services with courteous service, clear communication, and consistent results.

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