Common Winter Pavement Issues And How To Avoid Them

Winter can be hard on your landscape paving, whether it's your driveway or the sidewalks on your property. Fortunately, you can mitigate some of the most notorious factors that lead to concrete or asphalt paving problems. The following are several common winter complaints, along with the tools and strategies you need to prevent them.

Issue #1: Cracking

Solution: Winter freeze and thaw cycles can cause expansion and contraction of water molecules in the pavement. The result is a crack. More moisture then makes its way into the crack, freezes and expands, and results in a larger crack or even a pothole. The initial crack can usually be traced to one of two causes: 1. existing hairline cracks with moisture in them, or 2. moisture collecting beneath the pavement slab, where it then expands and puts stress on the pavement above.

To fix the first issue, get cracks professionally filled, damage repaired, and the paving sealed in autumn before temperatures drop below freezing. For the second issue, you will need to provide better drainage around the concrete or asphalt pad. This may require the installation of underground drains to route excess moisture away from this paved area.

Issue #2: Salt Damage

Solution: Applying rock salt is a horrible thing to do to your pavement and landscape. The salt not only causes pitting to asphalt and concrete, but the extra salts in the run-off melt can also kill neighboring landscape plants. As for the pavement, salt first causes pitting on the surface. Then, moisture gets into the pits, where it freezes and expands. Next thing you know, the small pits have developed into large cracks and potholes.

If you must use an ice melt product, opt for a chemical ice melt. Apply it sparingly, and then sweep off the residue as soon as the ice melts.

Issue #3: Winter Stains

Solution: Leaves and other organic debris from fall can trap moisture. The result is an increased chance for mildew, moss, and algae growth on your pavement. This will leave unattractive dark stains come summer. Although you can lighten the stains by cleaning them with an oxygenated bleach product, it isn't always possible to remove them completely. A much better option is to remove all debris in fall so dead leaves aren't left to sit all winter long.

Keep in mind that staining isn't the only concern with piles of leaves or plant debris. The constant onslaught of trapped moisture can prematurely weaken the seal coat on your pavement. This makes it easier for moisture to seep into the pores of the pavement, resulting in freeze expansion cracking. This means that you may be greeted by cracks, instead of simple stains, when you finally sweep up those leaves in spring.

If your pavement is in need of repair, take care of the issue before winter by calling a company like Asphalt Valley Services Residential Paving.