Brewery Lane, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

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Can Asphalt Be Laid In Winter

It’s January and you decide to kick off the new year with a new driveway. Great idea. You’ve chosen asphalt, which is cost-effective and will definitely add some kerb appeal to your home.  

So, can asphalt be laid in winter? Yes, you can lay asphalt in winter in certain circumstances. Some critical considerations are how cold it is and whether or not rain is forecast.

We’ve been known to install the odd asphalt driveway or two. In fact, we are one of the leading drive installers in the North and over the years, we’ve gained a lot of knowledge about asphalt driveway costs and laying drives in the UK winter.

We recommend only doing necessary repairs in the winter months and saving big jobs for when the weather’s fine. 

Temperature and wetness are the biggest issues. While some materials can withstand everything mother nature throws at them, asphalt’s make-up and the process involved in mixing it make this driveway surface a completely different story!

What’s The Minimum Temperature For Laying Asphalt? 

The minimum temperature for laying asphalt is 10 ℃ or 50 ℉. This is to keep the mix soft and enable the contractors to roll and compact the tarmac correctly. Not doing so will cause voids in the asphalt, eventually leading to cracks and damage.

Can You Lay Asphalt In Cold Weather?

You can lay asphalt in cold weather if it’s dry and the temperature is above 10 degrees Celcius or 50 ℉. 

If you lay asphalt on a frozen surface, it will stiffen, causing cracks and potholes. As we’ve touched on above, the temperature needs to be above 10 degrees, or the mixture will harden too quickly. 

This means it won’t flow and will become challenging to compact, ultimately affecting how long the driveway installation will last.

Your chosen tradesmen can advise on the best weather conditions and times. They may even use an infrared thermometer to read the surface and air temperature accurately, as a standard thermometer doesn’t provide an accurate enough reading. 

What About Rain?

You should never lay asphalt when it rains. The binders or bitumen which hold the aggregate together are oil or petroleum-based and of course, everyone knows oil and water don’t mix!

How does rain affects newly laid Asphalt? 

Any significant precipitation can cause the binders to break away from the aggregate base meaning the asphalt will simply crumble.

Potholes and cracks will likely form if you lay asphalt in rainy weather, which could mean expensive repairs. Another problem is that oil rises to the water’s surface, which may cause staining and discolouration of the asphalt and surface damage.

How soon can a new Asphalt drive get wet? 

A new asphalt driveway shouldn’t get wet for at least 24 hours after installation and 2-3 days would be perfect. You may get away with a light drizzle, but heavy downpours could damage the asphalt.

When Is The Best Time To Lay An Asphalt Driveway?

The best time for laying an asphalt drive is unsurprisingly spring or early summer before it gets too hot. 

Ideally, it should be warm and sunny, preferably with a slight breeze and no rain forecast for at least a few days. It’s essential to avoid both extreme cold, extreme heat and high humidity.

FAQs 

Does Asphalt cure faster in cold weather? 

Asphalt cures more quickly during cold weather, reducing the time contractors have to work with it, so covering larger areas is much more challenging.

Can you blacktop a driveway in Winter? 

Yes, you can blacktop a drive in winter, but the conditions need to be correct. There must be no chance of freezing temperatures, snow or rain; however, on a mild dry day, it is possible. 

Types of Asphalt

It’s important you know what are the three types of asphalt, so you can pick the correct one as certain ones can only be used in certain situations.

Last Word 

Now that you know you can lay asphalt under certain conditions, you are equipped to prepare for this upcoming winter. 

Remember, cold mix asphalt can be used to repair damage and potholes during colder months. For large areas of hot mix asphalt, such as a driveway, it’s best to wait until the weather warms up, as chilling too quickly will affect the end result.