How to Prepare your Asphalt for Winter

12 October 2020

As the days grow shorter and the weather turns colder, home and business owners have a seasonal checklist of chores to do to get ready for winter. Preparing your paved driveway, sidewalk or parking lot is another item to add to your autumn checklist. Taking a few minutes to prepare your asphalt for the winter weather ahead can play a major role in maintaining your asphalt and extending the life of your paved surfaces.

The asphalt and pavement specialists at Pavage Massie serving the Gatineau region of Quebec offer these tips for how to prepare your asphalt for winter.

Rake Leaves and Twigs
If you live in a neighbourhood with deciduous trees which drop their leaves during the fall, making an effort to rake up the leaves and twigs as they fall, even if it’s not directly on your pavement will go a long way to helping keep your pavement clean and easy to shovel once the snow falls. Any layer of frozen leaves and twigs can pose a safety threat due to slipping and tripping. Frozen debris on the base layer of ice and snow on your surface will also thwart your de-icing attempts.

Wash off Oil and Dirt
Even if your asphalt driveway looks clean, there will most likely be a build up of oil and rubber from the vehicles which were in and out of your driveway or parking lot during the spring, summer and fall. Using a pressure washer with a mild detergent is often enough to clean your asphalt and get it ready for winter. For any spot cleaning and stain removal, try using a stiff bristled brush (or broom) to scrub with baking soda or powdered laundry detergent and rinse off after 30 minutes.

Trim Shrubs and Bushes
If you have any shrubs or bushes that grow near your paved sidewalk or driveway, trimming back the overgrowth in the fall is best for the plants, and an important step to take in getting your asphalt ready for winter. Keeping your shrubs in check will help lower the growth of any unwanted moss and make it easier for snow removal. Low hanging branches can cause difficulties when they freeze into snow banks or even worse, onto your paved surface itself.

Remove Heavy Objects
As we’ve mentioned before, asphalt has a high liquid concentration and will freeze during the winter months. If you have any heavy objects stored on your paved surfaces that can be stored elsewhere during the freezing and thawing cycles, it will help maintain the flatness of your asphalt surface. Key culprits include propane tanks, recreational vehicles and trailers, and piles of building supplies that you “intend” to use one day!

Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Asphalt surfaces are often located close to houses, garages and sheds and are therefore in the direct line of fire for rain gutters and downspouts. It is essential that these drainage systems are maintained and kept clean so that the flow of water goes where it is designed to go. Leaves and other debris in roof gutters can cause a build up that will redirect the melting snow and rain to trickle down walls and cause puddling. When freezing and thawing, these misplaced reservoirs of water can cause extensive damage to asphalt and paved surfaces.

Get Your Plastic Shovel Ready
Don’t be caught unawares during the first major snowfall. Get your plastic shovel ready so that you can keep your asphalt walkway and driveway clear of snow for as long as possible into the beginning of winter. If you are able to safely scrape it down to the pavement, the black surface will absorb sunlight and help your snow removal efforts through the power of the sun.

Stock Up on DeIcer
Ice is inevitable in Gatineau and the Outaouais Region during the winter. Take time in the fall to stock-up on your favourite de-icing products so that you can stay on top of ice and snow removal when the time comes. Not sure what products to use? Check out our blog on 3 reasons you should use sand or gravel on your asphalt or concrete. One of the easiest ways to ruin your pavement is to use an ice chopper, steel rod or other destructive device to chip away ice that has built up. Be prepared and avoid any major ice-build up to help maintain your pavement this winter.

Winter is coming. By taking a few minutes during these sunny days of fall you can help prepare for easy asphalt maintenance this winter and extend the life of your asphalt investment. Pumpkin Spice drinks are optional, but shovels and de-icer are not!