If you live in a part of the country in which days that include rain, snow, or other precipitation are more common than days that don't, you may feel uneasy at the thought of tackling a paving project that requires an extended stretch of dry or mild weather. Indeed, mixing oil-based asphalt with water can lead to unpleasant after-effects that could permanently compromise the structure of your new driveway or walkway. What are your paving options if you can't have warm or dry weather guaranteed for the duration of the construction process? Read on for some tips that can help you achieve driveway perfection even on a cold and rainy day.
Consider hiring a contractor during the off-season
It may seem counterintuitive to hire a contractor during the fall or winter to work on a paving project that requires good weather, but hiring someone during the off-season can help ensure more flexible availability. Many contractors face extended unemployment during this time of year and may be willing to take on smaller-than-normal jobs simply to have some regular income. This free schedule can allow the contractor to take advantage of mild or dry winter days at the last minute, helping squeeze in your new driveway during temporarily ideal conditions.
Invest in the use of protective equipment
In some cases, you may have no choice but to have your asphalt or concrete poured during a moist or rainy time of year. If dealing with an inflexible construction timeline, you can dramatically improve the odds of paving project success by investing in some equipment that will help protect the construction crew and your newly poured driveway. You may opt to erect waterproof tarps or tents over the excavated areas, allowing the concrete to be poured or asphalt to be spread in conditions as dry as possible. By being proactive in preventing water access to your fresh driveway, you'll wind up with the same final product you could have hoped to achieve on even a bright and sunny day.
As another alternative, you can use the services of a concrete pump truck rather than a mixing truck. These pump trucks can provide some natural protection against bad weather by allowing workers to carefully and precisely direct the flow of viscous cement to the right location via a flexible hose. Although a concrete mixing truck also has a mechanism to allow cement to flow to the work site, it requires much more work spreading and evening the concrete once it has been laid.
Use cold mix instead of hot mix asphalt
One of the primary problems rain can pose to asphalt paving projects is its cooling effect. Hot mix asphalt depends on ultra-high temperatures to achieve the compaction needed to provide a high-quality product, and pouring hot mix asphalt in cold or rainy conditions can cause major problems. In order to achieve ideal compaction, hot mix asphalt must be between 275 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit when it arrives at the construction site and shouldn't be installed if the outdoor temperature remains below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, cold mix asphalt can be spread and compacted at much lower temperatures and can therefore be a good option for paving projects performed during cold or wet conditions. As long as your new driveway or walkway is shielded from the most extreme rain conditions, chilly weather at the time of application shouldn't have any detrimental effect on the final result. As a bonus, cold mix asphalt is generally considered more environmentally-friendly than hot mix (due to the lower energy requirements of the mixing temperature) and can even be composed primarily of recycled hot mix asphalt that provides a higher quality driving surface than many hot mix applications.