Winter is coming into full swing, which is great for people who enjoy winter sports and activities. Those of us who live in areas with cold climate winters know that it’s not all that bad. Once you get into the sprit of the season, there are a lot of fun things to do. But it remains true that one of the best things about coming into the dead of winter is knowing that spring is just around the corner. Before you know it, all that snow will start to melt. The birds will start singing, the warm breezes will start blowing, and you’ll enjoy the relief of spring even more, having been through the winter.
But it’s no secret that winter can be tough on homes. The extreme temperature swings make certain aspects of the home even more important — such as insulation, windows, furnaces, ducts, and so forth. Often times, by the time spring rolls around, there are some repairs to take care of. Hopefully these projects are easy and inexpensive, but sometimes more costly things come up.
What about driveways? Can the cold, frozen and wet winter months have a serious affect on your home’s driveway and its overall life span? The answer is yes — but it depends on the quality of the installation, the mixture used, and the attention give to the layers beneath the surface of the pavement — often referred to as the base and sub-base layers.
The main winter-related stress on your driveway is fluctuations in temperature. As the mercury falls into freezing temperature and rises again, the molecular structure of the pavement will contract and expand. This movement can lead to cracks and warped areas of pavement. If you look at asphalt driveways in cold-winter states (such as New Jersey), you’ll see a lot of this temperature-related damage. When temperatures drop low and stay low for the majority for winter, or if the winter is unusually mild, your driveway will usually sustain less possible damage than it would with constant swings between sub-freezing and above-freezing temperatures. The more your pavement is forced to expand and contract, the greater the possibilities for damage over time.
With damage, of course, comes repair and replacement costs. As a homeowner who has enough to worry about already, the idea of having to put money into your driveway as a result of temperature swings is not very appealing.
The good news is that if you choose a reputable and experience contractor — one who uses the best quality materials, and guarantees their work in writing — you’re much more likely to have a driveway that stands the test of time. Operators who are experience in building driveways in places like New Jersey have certain “tricks of the trade” that give pavement room and space to expand and contract, leading to better results as the seasons pass. When you’re researching or discussing your project with a pavement contractor, be sure to mention these concerns and listen to the answers given. As a homeowner, you should be confident that your driveway installation is properly planned and executed to give you the very best result.