Temperatures and Paving, How to Ensure Success

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Last time on the Sunrise Blog we talked a bit about how high temperatures can cause the asphalt and pavement to be scorching hot. That got us thinking, temperature is critically important when it comes to asphalt, not just for avoiding blistering your toes but in the process of paving itself. When it comes to a quality pavement job, tracking the temperatures is crucial.

The temperatures of mixed asphalt at the point of manufacture is between 275 and 325 degrees. This temperature ensures that when the mix is laid down it is the correct density for proper compaction. Two things can affect this temperature in the most striking ways. The ambient and base temperatures have the greatest effect. Ambient is the temperature of the air, while the base is the actual surface the asphalt is being applied to. If either of these are too cool, then the hot asphalt mixture will cool at a faster rate then workers can compact it and thus cause the road to be less stable and lead to quicker deterioration.

The ambient temperature recommended for a solid day of paving is 50 degrees and rising at the start of the day. Anything less, will cause the hot mixed asphalt to cool to quickly. The base temperature should also be 50 degrees. Remember to allow for the ground to warm with the sun before paving. If the weather is sitting around low 50’s the base might not have had enough time to adequately warm. If you ignore these two conditions the product will be a failure, as the mix will cool before the rolling and compaction and thus not achieve the highest level of density.

This has been a lot of industry jargon to be sure and if you’re looking to hire an asphalt company then you’re likely not going to be needing this information, though it may explain why the company isn’t willing to come pave your project in almost freezing temperatures.

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