How Sudbury's Winters Affect Your Parking Lot
Those who live in Sudbury know better than most just how tough a Canadian winter can be. Property managers would do well to know how that same blistering cold and feet of snow impact their parking lot. While you can’t always see what is going on with your asphalt in the winter, usually, by the time spring has arrived, and the snow has melted, you see that your lot has suffered some damage over the colder months.
Why does asphalt not handle winter weather all that well? Understanding exactly what is going on can help you make better decisions for your parking lot this year. We’ll explain all of the ways that winter impacts your Sudbury parking lot below.
The Freeze-Thaw Cycle
Why do cracks and potholes tend to appear after the snow has melted away? The freeze-thaw cycle is to blame. This is the winter phenomenon which impacts asphalt the most. Essentially, water gets into the cracks or holes in your parking lot and freezes into ice. When it does, it expands and pushes the gap open some more. As soon as the ice can melt back into the water it refills the larger gap and then applies more pressure when it freezes again. This can create potholes and major cracks from hairline cracks in the lot.
Depending on the weather, this can happen multiple times per day in your parking lot. That is especially true in late fall and early spring when there are freezing temperatures at night and above-freezing temperatures during the day.
Salt and Deicing Agents
Salt and deicing agents can melt ice on your lot. While this is great for safety, it can add yet another frost-thaw cycle to your lot and make smaller issues with it worse. Salt and deicing agents also have texture and can increase the abrasive power of the normal traffic going through your lot.
Most snow plow operators are careful about how their blade touches the surface of the parking lot, and they try not to make scratches along it. Still, mistakes happen, and your lot can be damaged during snow removal. Heavy snow plows can also add force and further wear down your lot the same way that driving any heavy equipment through the lot repeatedly would.
You may not think of asphalt as having oils in it. However, when you look at very old, exhausted asphalt, you’ll see that it crumbles. There is no longer any oil to hold it together. In order to keep your asphalt whole, flexible and water-repellant, it needs its natural oils. When water and snow are in direct contact with the water, the oils in it slowly evaporate. This is one reason that sealed asphalt lasts much longer than the parking lots that are left in direct contact with the snow all winter long. Sealing your parking lot in the fall can protect it from this source of wear.
If you have drainage issues on your parking lot, then frost heave becomes a possibility in the winter. Frost heave can occur when there is a hole in the top layer of your parking lot, which allows water down into the base layer of the lot. Here, when temperatures get low enough, the water freezes into ice and expands. If that happens, it can rupture up through the top layer of your parking lot. That’s why it is called frost heave. It is annoying to fix frost heave because, ideally, the water in the sublayer of the parking lot needs to be removed. It’s much easier to prevent this problem than to fix it.
Choose EverLine Coating for Parking Lot Maintenance
EverLine Coatings can help you protect your Sudbury parking lot from all of these negative impacts that winter can have on it. A bit of preventative maintenance or other treatments in the spring will go a long way to making your lot more resistant to snow, ice, and the damage that results from them.
Our pavement maintenance program is a worthwhile investment for property owners in Sudbury. Learn more about it today.
Surrounding Communities Serviced
- Elliot Lake
- Kirkland Lake
- Manitoulin Island
- North Bay
- Parry Sound
- West Nipissing
- White Fish