Winter has arrived, and in many parts of the country, it has brought with it several feet of snow. Snow and ice along with freeze-thaw cycles can cause damage to your asphalt and further deteriorate any existing damage remaining from fall. Here are some tips to help you complete immediate repairs to potholes and prevent further damage through efficient snow and ice removal.
Repair Winter Potholes
Any cracks in the surface of your asphalt will allow moisture to seep into the crevices, where it will refreeze when the temperature falls. This results in the expansion of the crack, which further deteriorates your asphalt, usually forming a pothole. Inspect your asphalt periodically to look for any areas of cracking where a pothole has begun to form. The surface of the asphalt will form pattern cracking, and chunks of the asphalt will begin to crumble away.
It is important to repair the pothole damage to prevent it from expanding further. Remove any chunks of asphalt and clear out the pothole of all debris. Use a chisel, the edge of your shovel, or a circular saw with a masonry blade to even off the edges of the pothole. The edges of the pothole should be cut clean and cut vertically up and down in the hole.
If the pothole is deeper than the surrounding asphalt's thickness, you will need to fill it with crushed gravel to build up the sub base material to the surrounding asphalt's level. Fill the hole with gravel, tamping it to compact it with a hand tamp. Use a cold patch asphalt mixture to fill in the top of the pothole, scooping it with a shovel. Overfill it slightly, then use a hand tamp to compress it level with the surrounding asphalt.
Remove Snow and Ice
When winter snow falls on your asphalt, it is recommended that you clear it off to make the pavement safe for pedestrians and vehicles to travel across. You can use a broom to sweep off small amounts of snow from the surface, then use a snow shovel with a plastic edge to remove larger, heavier amounts of snowfall. Using a snow shovel with a non-metal edge prevents damage from occurring to your asphalt's surface in order to prevent moisture intrusion into the asphalt, as moisture causes damage to the underlying layers.
The benefit of asphalt's surface is its dark color that absorbs the sun's rays, which can help melt any remaining snow and ice after you clear the surface with a broom or a shovel. However, any remaining melted snow and ice can freeze when the temperature falls at night, so you can apply an ice melt onto the surface to help prevent ice formation. It is also helpful to apply sand onto any icy surface to help with traction when you want to avoid applying ice melt chemicals. This is a good idea if you are concerned with the ice melt runoff into surrounding vegetation or tracking it onto your pets' feet.
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