How to Successfully Accomplish Cold Weather Paving

January 21, 2020

Proper asphalt paving is dependent on the weather. If the conditions are wrong, the mix won’t compact correctly, and the pavement will crumble. Working on mild spring or summer afternoons is ideal, but we can’t just shut down operations for the year when it gets cold outside! Keep reading to learn more about the steps behind successful cold weather paving in Nashville, TN:

  • Maintain adequate mix temperature: If the asphalt mix is too cold, the mix won’t compact. On the other hand, if it’s too hot, the mix will be permanently damaged before it gets a chance to compact. To ensure the mix goes on at the perfect temperature for compaction, it should be anywhere from 290 degrees to 330 degrees.
  • Tarp loads when necessary: On short hauls, the crust that develops on the top of the mix is sufficient for maintaining the proper internal temperature. That’s not always the case if the asphalt is coming from a farther distance. Consider putting a heavy tarp on the truck to keep the temperature hot enough.
  • Unload trucks in proper order: The third and fourth trucks should be unloaded before the first and second trucks once you arrive at the job site. The hotter mix from the latter trucks will heat up the paver screed faster and reduce the risk of tearing the mat at the start of paving.
  • Remove cold chunks: There will likely be cold chunks of asphalt in the first few trucks. Be sure to remove those or remix them! If not, the cold pieces won’t compact and will pop back out of the mat.
  • Reduce handwork and raking: The mix loses a ton of heat every time the mix is fluffed with a rake. We obviously need as much heat as possible, so don’t rake more than necessary. Since raking can be a pain, it’s hard to imagine anyone will be upset about not doing it.
  • Roller techniques: Cold weather paving in Nashville, TN may require you to change how you operate the roller. Since the asphalt will cool quickly on cold days, you should shorten the length of roller passes to cover the mat before it cools.

Equipment considerations

Your equipment needs will typically change when the temperature drops. Here are a few things you may need to adjust:

  • Tarps: If the tarps mentioned above will be necessary, be sure that you have them on hand. Heavy-duty tarps can be the difference between successful and unsuccessful winter paving in Nashville, TN.
  • Multiple rollers: Since time is of the essence when paving in cold weather, you may need to bring more rollers than usual to get the job done faster. You might also consider using wide rollers to speed up the process.
  • Extra crew members: With additional rollers often comes the need for a larger crew. Be sure you have plenty of staff on site to quickly and efficiently complete the paving job.

If you want to ensure your winter paving in Nashville, TN goes off without a hitch, be sure to hire our crew at RoadBuilders. Whether the temperature is hot or cold, you can rest easy knowing that we’ll do a perfect job with your asphalt paving project.

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