How Does Houston’s Summer Heat Affect Your Asphalt?
As you know, the June we have just sweltered through was hot – it broke the 2011 record to become the hottest June in Houston’s history. July and August are the hottest months in our area, so get ready for many days when the temperatures hit the mid-90s and stay there. This is not good news for asphalt parking lots and can leave them in need of repairs. Although it is mixed at 280 degrees Fahrenheit and installed when warm, asphalt does not do well in extreme heat.
Unfortunately, asphalt is vulnerable to several damaging effects in high heat:
Oxidation begins as soon as the asphalt is first laid, simply because it is exposed to oxygen. In the beginning, this is positive; it means that the molecular layers are creating stronger and tighter bonds that make the asphalt firm. However, after several years, oxidation makes the asphalt brittle. It can begin to crack.
This brittleness is exacerbated when the UV radiation from the sun (and Harris County averages 204 sunny days each year) causes a chemical reaction. The reaction makes the light oils combine; they become heavier and sink because the number of binding oils has reduced. The weight leads to more brittleness and fragility, so the asphalt is vulnerable to cracks and other damage. The sunlight weakens the integrity of the asphalt.
Cracking can be caused by oxidation, but it can also be caused by extreme heat. Extreme heat is anything over 90 degrees: exactly the kind of heat we experience for 99.6 days each summer in Houston. The asphalt expands in the daytime temperatures and then contracts in the lower nighttime temperatures or if it rains. The repetition of expanding and contracting causes weakening of the asphalt, and ultimately leads to cracking or even buckling.
Raveling happens when water or moisture causes the aggregate (mixture of materials) to travel in a downward motion and cause cracks. Rain isn’t the only cause of raveling; humidity causes moisture, which can also get into cracks and damage the cohesion of the asphalt. It will come as no surprise to you that Houston is the third-most humid city in the U.S., with an average relative humidity of 74.7%. To put raveling in its most basic terms: cracks lead to other cracks.
Protect Your Asphalt Parking Lots
Houston is a great place to live, but a difficult place in which to preserve the integrity of asphalt parking lots. Nobody wants to drive over cracks, potholes, or buckling parking spots. They are dangerous and unsightly; a cracked and fading parking lot can give a business an unprofessional appearance — it’s not the best first impression for your clients.
Houston’s summers are relentless, but you don’t have to throw in the towel and accept the damage they cause. You can reach out to EverLine Houston West for your pavement needs. You don’t have to constantly worry about maintenance or repairs; we can take those tasks off your hands. Not only can we repair and restore your asphalt parking lot, but we can also protect your asphalt from the worst of Houston’s elements with weather-resistant asphalt sealcoating.
Request a quote today.
Request a Quote
Houston West EverLine Office
Serving the Greater West Houston area, including:
- Sugar Land
- Jersey Village
- Missouri City
- South Houston
- Hedwig Village
- Jacinto City