Spring has sprung, as they say, and most corners of North America are starting to enjoy the signs that winter is officially ended. Loads of property owners are thinking about all of the projects that need to be completed in the coming season, and it can include everything from painting and roofing to re-paving the drive or parking area. This leads many to wonder whether the spring season is the right season for paving.

The Role of the Weather in Asphalt Paving

Asphalt is a very hot material, but it does not mean that you can have it installed during any other season than winter. This is because asphalt requires a longer cooking time, as well as a period when it can remain workable after being poured into place. Allow it to drop quickly in temperature and you get all kinds of lumps. These would need to be lifted up, necessitating the removal of all that had been poured.

Usually, it is best if daytime highs are in the 70 degree Fahrenheit range, which means that late spring or early autumn are ideal times.

Of course, the weather also has a role in the preparations of the base or foundation. As one expert noted, “Asphalt installed on an unstable base can develop problems quickly,” and an unstable base can occur because the ground conditions were not yet suited to paving. The foundation is done in one of three ways – over existing pavement, by removing an existing pavement and then adding new pavement over the existing soil/foundation, or by removing the old pavement and installing a new base.

Interestingly enough, the thicker the pavement and the more asphalt needed, the more time you have to lay the asphalt. As a simple illustration, if your driveway is around three inches deep, you have almost an hour to smooth the asphalt properly if the outdoor temperature is only 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is at least 70 degrees, you have much more time and greater chances of success.

The Best Solution

Unless you are absolutely certain that your driveway’s existing base is a well made aggregate that is evenly graded and compressed, it is always a better idea to remove existing asphalt, do some new grading, adding the best compacted materials, and then having new asphalt applied and rolled.

This, however, is hardly a DIY project – even if it is a small space. Why not? Because it means excavating the old materials, somehow removing them to a spot suitable for recycling them, using equipment to flatten and grade the sub-level and ensuring such things as drainage and water flow is ideal, and then doing the paving after laying and compacting the new foundation. There is also a high amount of clean up needed.

Since few property owners are equipped to tackle this level of work, it is best to work with experts in the industry. The team at Black Tar has been operating in the Ottawa area since 2012, and offer a five-step process for optimal results.