Everyone who lives in Santa Fe knows just how hot and varied the city's climate can get in the summer. Lovely weather is just one thing that draws people to New Mexico from all over the world, whether to stay for the winter or to live year-round. Unfortunately, the desert climate often has an unwanted side effect of causing damage to asphalt. Whether it's your driveway or parking lot, understanding how you can prevent this damage can go a long way to saving you money on costly repairs. Learn how to avoid summer heat problems in the helpful guide below.
Hot Asphalt Becomes Soft
The most important fact to consider in the summer is that asphalt will eventually become somewhat malleable in high temperatures. A little bit of softness isn't a problem, but if your driveway becomes extremely hot during a heat wave, cars and heavy vehicles may cause deep rivets or grooves that cement in place. As nighttime temperatures go down--the most common time for your car to be parked in your driveway--those rivets will cool down and become rock-hard.
Avoid this by parking your vehicles on the road, even if it's just until the temperatures come down a bit at night. Alternatively, you can spray the surface with water a couple of times per day to cool it down. Also, leave driveway work for cooler days--patches can and will fail if the temperature is too hot.
Repeated Exposure to Sunlight Will Age Your Asphalt
Asphalt that's constantly exposed to high temperatures and sunlight will age more quickly. Open-graded driveways and lots are particularly susceptible to UV light damage, and are often prone to cracking, chipping or total failure of the overall surface seal. Even just a single summer's worth of sunshine can start a chain reaction that's difficult to stop. Once the seal is compromised, water, mold and moisture will enter, resulting in large cracks and chips.
The best way to avoid this is to build your driveway on a side of your property that experiences shade throughout the day. However, this isn't really helpful if the driveway or lot is already laid out. In these instances, consider using an awning or lattice roof extension to create an attractive shady area over your asphalt.
If there's no way to create shade, the best you can do is monitor your asphalt for problems. Acting quickly whenever you notice chipping, cracking or discoloration will prevent more severe issues from occurring.
Santa Fe's Rainy Season Can Damage Asphalt Surfaces
Although Santa Fe sits within a desert climate area, it does experience a rainy season each year. June, July and sometimes August all report higher levels of rain than throughout the rest of the year, and back-to-back storms are more common. Pair this with the potential for sunlight and heat damage, and you may find yourself with micro-cracks or washed-out pavement. So how can you prevent water damage when weather is problematic?
The answer isn't exactly clear-cut. Start by taking a look at the overall condition of your driveway or lot.
Examine your property for incline and valleys. If you have dips or recessed areas in your asphalt, these will naturally gather pools of water after heavy rain. If it's possible, have these areas leveled before installing or reinstalling fresh pavement. Drop-in sewage drains that channel water away are also helpful and work particularly well for parking lots or paved sports courts.
If you're currently using an open-graded asphalt mix, consider tearing it up and replacing it with an extremely dense formula. The denser your asphalt, the less likely it is to allow water to permeate the surface--meaning less chance of cracks or breaks when the rainy season comes.
Finally, even just taking a push broom and sweeping water out of small recessed areas can provide some protection against water damage after a rainstorm.
Even with Santa Fe's desert climate, asphalt remains one of the most attractive, durable choices for driveways and parking lots. With a little bit of care and an understanding of how to prevent weather-related issues, you'll prevent the need for repeated repairs and enjoy a solid, beautiful surface for years to come. For more info on how to make paving work for your home or business, contact a local contractor like Armour Pavement Inc.Share