When you need a pavement that can be available for use quickly, will be surprisingly economical, and can last for decades with proper care, asphalt paving can be your best option. However, you need a contractor who understands every little detail about installing asphalt, including the proper temperature and timing involved in the paving process. There are actually three temperatures that your contractor must consider, and they are the ambient, ground, and mix temperatures.

Asphalt Paving: Temperature and Timing

Why Is Timing Critical When Installing Asphalt Paving?

Asphalt contractors must receive asphalt from a batch plant, place the asphalt mix, work it, and then compact it while the mix is still hot enough to be pliable. Proper compaction is essential if the pavement is to be dense enough to have an attractive surface and a long life. Improper compaction can negatively affect the pavement’s ride, and it can also result in water that lingers on the surface, which can cause pavement damage as well as present an annoyance to drivers and pedestrians. The precise length of time that the crew of a street or parking lot paving contractor will have to achieve proper compaction depends on several factors, but the temperature of the mix, ground, and air are the most critical.

Why Is the Ambient Temperature Important for Asphalt Paving?

The ambient temperature, also known as the air temperature, is the reading with which people are the most familiar. It simply involves using a thermometer to measure how hot or cold the outdoor air is at the moment. Whether they are working on a municipal paving project to construct a new street, installing an asphalt overlay, or installing a patch to repair a damaged pavement, asphalt contractors want ambient temperatures to be a minimum of 50 degrees and rising. However, other factors can require higher ambient temperatures. For example, high winds accelerate the rate at which asphalt cools, so your parking lot paving contractor or asphalt maintenance company may not be willing to proceed with a paving project on a windy day if the ambient temperature is near the minimum.

What Is the Importance of the Ground Temperature When Paving Austin TX Properties?

Although many people use the terms ground temperature and surface temperature interchangeably, they are not quite identical. The surface temperature states how hot or cold the top layer of the ground or existing pavement is, while the ground temperature measures the temperature where the asphalt will encounter the ground, base, or existing pavement. To illustrate, when applying sealcoating, parking lot maintenance contractors may measure the surface temperature of the pavement. However, when installing a new pavement, asphalt contractors need to know the temperature of the underlying soil or subbase. Typically, they use infrared thermometers to take these readings. The minimum acceptable ground temperature for installing asphalt is 50 degrees. It is important to understand that the ground and surface temperatures are often quite different, so contractors must measure both.

What Is the Importance of an Asphalt Mix Temperature When Performing Paving Projects?

As the name suggests, hot mix asphalt is hot when it is delivered to a job site. Typically, the asphalt mix will be at least 275 degrees Fahrenheit, and it may be even hotter. The initial rolling needs to be performed before the mix cools below approximately 290 degrees, but the minimum may be much lower for thin courses. The final compaction needs to occur while the temperature of the mix is between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit. By measuring the ambient and ground temperatures, your asphalt company can calculate how quickly the mix will cool when applied in lifts of a specified thickness.

Trust RDC Paving for Your Commercial, Residential, and Municipal Paving Projects

We are a well-respected, fully-licensed, and experienced paving company serving customers throughout the Austin, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Leander, Pflugerville, Round Rock, and San Marcos areas. Our services include asphalt repair and paving, driveway paving, asphalt sealcoating, concrete paving, asphalt crack repair, parking lot striping, concrete repair, asphalt milling, concrete curbing, parking lot maintenance, and concrete wheel stops. We have built our enviable reputation through consistent and exceptional craftsmanship, extraordinary customer service, integrity, and professional project execution. If you would be interested in a free quote, just fill out our online form, or you can call us at 512-920-9155 if you prefer.