Picketts Paving LLC
February 16, 2023 at 6:55 PM
- Winter weather conditions can dramatically affect pavements, causing damage if not treated properly.
- It is important to understand the various deicing treatments available to minimize the impact of winter weather on pavements.
- Common deicing treatments include rock salt, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and propylene glycol.
- Deicing treatments can significantly affect pavement materials such as asphalt or concrete and may contain pollutants that can accumulate in groundwater sources if not disposed of properly.
- To keep roads clear and in good condition during winter, it is important to perform regular maintenance throughout the winter to identify any potential issues.
Winter weather conditions can have a dramatic effect on pavements. Snow, ice, and frost can cause damage to pavements if not treated properly. It is important to understand the various deicing treatments available to minimize the impact of winter weather on pavements.
In this blog, Pickett’s Paving LLC will discuss the common deicing chemical treatments available for pavement surfaces, their effects on pavement materials, and how to keep roads clear and in good condition during winter.
Pavements and Winter Weather
Winter weather affects pavement in several ways. Freezing temperatures cause water to expand as it turns into ice and contracts when it melts. The process is known as the freeze-thaw cycle. This cycle causes water to seep into the pavement’s surface, weakening it over time. Snowfall is also problematic because the weight of the snow can put pressure on pavements that weren’t designed to hold it. That is especially true if the surface isn’t cleared quickly or thoroughly enough. Finally, ice poses a huge safety hazard for anyone walking or driving on it. Even small patches of ice can be slippery enough to cause falls or car accidents if not addressed promptly.
Common Deicing Treatments
To prevent these issues from occurring (or at least minimize their effects), many municipalities and private property owners use deicing treatments. These deicing materials work by reducing the temperature at which water freezes. When spread onto a surface that’s already covered in snow or ice, they create a brine solution that melts the existing frozen material and prevents new precipitation from sticking around long enough to freeze. A few deicers include:
- Rock salt (sodium chloride). Sodium chloride is a typical ice melt product similar to the salt in your kitchen shaker. It is relatively cheap, which is one of the reasons why it is so popular. It is not, however, the safest ice melt product. Products that use rock salt or sodium chloride will only function to roughly 15 degrees F. Furthermore, Sodium Chloride is not particularly cost-effective and might be dangerous to your dogs.
- Calcium Chloride. The good news is that Calcium Chloride is one of the most widely used ice melt agents. It is commonly found in crystals, flakes, or pellets. Calcium Chloride is quick acting and can work at temperatures as low as -25 degrees F. Because asphalt can function at such low temperatures, it is significantly insulated from the hazards of the freeze-thaw cycle.
- Magnesium Chloride. This is a novel and unique sort of ice melt that is gaining appeal among both households and governments. It may swiftly melt ice and is effective up to -13 degrees Celsius. It is safe to use on concrete and asphalt and will not harm your property or landscape.
- CMA or calcium magnesium acetate. For business parking lots, driveways, and private roads, calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is an excellent alternative. It works well; however, unlike other deicers, it is unpleasant to animals but not hazardous. Spread CMA before ice development because it stops ice molecules from attaching, keeping the material mushy and boosting traction rather than melting it.
- Propylene glycol (PG). It is another excellent alternative since it can lower the freezing point of water to about -75°. It is not hazardous to either plants or animals. It’s usually blended with traction-enhancing, a porous granular substance in liquid form.
Effects of Deicing Treatments on Pavement Materials
Deicing treatments can significantly affect pavement materials such as asphalt or concrete. The chemicals in deicers can break down these materials over time if they are used too often or too heavily. This breakdown can cause potholes or cracks in the pavement surface, which can be costly to repair or replace.
Additionally, some deicers may contain pollutants such as nitrates or phosphates, which can accumulate in groundwater sources if not disposed of properly. Deicing chemicals are also corrosive, raising some hazards. They can, for example, accelerate rust damage to automobiles and pollute the environment by combining with water when the snow melts. To prevent this, chemical inhibitors that lessen the corrosive impact can be added to deicer products.
When it snows, some organizations dump the sand on the roads with deicing chemicals or on its own to provide traction on compacted snow that will not melt straight away. Sand may not have the same potential for degradation of pavement materials as chemical deicers. Still, it can degrade pavement structures in other ways. While deicing chemicals are largely washed away as the snow melts, sand may remain and get into places it shouldn’t.
Sand application is a particular problem for open-graded and porous asphalt pavements. These mix patterns enable water to flow through the pavement surface; however, sand particles will fill up and block the gaps through which the water runs, eliminating the drainage function. Porous asphalt pavements will drain snow away more rapidly when the weather is warm enough, and sand treatment should be avoided.
Maintaining Roadways During Winter Weather
To keep roads clear and in good condition during winter, it is important to use deicers judiciously and practice proper disposal methods when disposing of used deicer solutions.
Additionally, it is important to use a combination of deicers to maximize efficiency while minimizing environmental impact. For example, using rock salt and calcium chloride together will provide better melting action than either one alone could achieve. It will also reduce the amount of each chemical that needs to be applied overall.
Finally, regular maintenance should be performed throughout the winter to identify any potential issues before they become major problems for your pavement surface.
Winter weather conditions can take a toll on asphalt pavement surfaces if not regularly maintained. Pickett’s Paving LLC provides a range of paving, maintenance, and repair services at reasonable prices in Baraboo, WI. Furthermore, our knowledge enables us to offer our clients the greatest quality asphalt paving services.
Get a free quote today!