How Hot is Asphalt When Paving? (Your Guide)

August 1, 2023

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How hot is asphalt when paving? If you have a paving installation or repair job coming up, you might wonder about those temperatures! It’s especially vital to find out if you’re in an area prone to high heat or intense sun exposure. Do these affect paving material temperatures and is it safe to pave during summer months?

Asphalt temperatures vary depending on the mix and weather conditions. Hot mix asphalt usually ranges from 290-320 degrees Fahrenheit when installed. Warm mix materials range from 212-270 degrees Fahrenheit. While asphalt starts to cool right after installation, it might take two days or more for it to set completely.

This quick answer is not enough to really understand how hot is asphalt when paving and right after. In turn, you might keep reading for more details! Also, don’t hesitate to contact a paving installation contractor near you for more information. They’re probably happy to answer your questions about asphalt temperatures and its installation process.

How hot is asphalt when paving

How Hot is Asphalt When Paving?

The temperature of asphalt varies depending on several factors, as said. However, asphalt is typically extremely hot when installed and takes some time to cool down. The material needs to be heated to high temperatures to make it workable for paving and compacting.

Also, hot temperatures are essential for achieving proper compaction and ensuring a durable and long-lasting pavement surface. The high temperature also helps asphalt bind together effectively and adhere to the underlying surface.

Asphalt temperatures during installation

Generally, hot mix asphalt during paving ranges from 290 to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm mix asphalt is often used for colder weather. Contractors pour warm mixture at lower temperatures, typically between 212 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

Warm mix asphalt offers environmental and energy-saving benefits, and improved workability during cooler temperatures. However, its exact temperature range still varies based on the specific mix and additives used.

It’s important to note that the temperature of the asphalt mix may decrease gradually as it is transported to the paving site. It also cools as it’s applied and compacted on the road surface. Asphalt paving crews typically use specialized equipment to maintain its temperature and workability during transportation and application.

Overall, the temperature of the asphalt during paving is a critical factor in ensuring the quality and longevity of the pavement. Proper control and monitoring of the temperature throughout the paving process are essential to achieve the best results.

In turn, note that working with hot asphalt poses certain safety challenges. Construction crews must take necessary precautions to handle the mix safely. Workers wear protective gear and follow established safety protocols to minimize risks. Consequently, it’s best to leave working with hot asphalt to professionals!

How Long Does It Take for Asphalt to Cool Down?

Asphalt’s cooling time varies depending on several factors, including its initial temperature. Also, the surrounding temperature, the thickness of the asphalt layer, and weather conditions affect how quickly it cools.

Generally, asphalt takes several hours to cool down where it can be safely opened to traffic. In many cases, a contractor might recommend you wait a full day or two for asphalt to cool completely. Note some general guidelines for asphalt cooling times:

  • In smaller areas, asphalt may cool down quickly enough to be opened to traffic within an hour or two. However, it is essential to follow engineering and safety guidelines before opening the area for use.
  • The top layer of asphalt will cool faster than the underlying layers. Surface cooling can occur within a few hours, but the asphalt beneath may still be hot. In turn, it’s vital that you consider more than just surface temperatures when deciding if it’s safe to drive on fresh asphalt.
  • Surrounding environmental conditions affect asphalt cooling times. Hot, dry weather can keep the material hotter for longer than cooler conditions.
  • Thicker asphalt layers retain heat, increasing its cooling time.

In some cases, construction crews may use specialized techniques or equipment to speed up the cooling process. This includes wetting the asphalt or otherwise manually cooling the surface.

spreading out concrete

How Much Hotter Is Asphalt Than Concrete?

Asphalt is typically hotter than concrete under the same conditions. The difference in temperature is mainly due to the materials’ properties and color. First, asphalt is darker in color and has a higher absorption rate of solar radiation compared to concrete.

That dark color absorbs more sunlight, converting it into heat energy. In turn, asphalt tends to get much hotter when exposed to direct sunlight. On a hot sunny day, asphalt can easily reach temperatures of 140 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

In contrast, concrete surfaces tend to stay cooler because of their lighter color. On a hot day, concrete surfaces may reach temperatures of around 100 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, it’s important to note that these temperature ranges are general estimates and can vary depending on various factors such as the location, weather conditions, time of day, and surface characteristics.

Why Do Contractors Wet Asphalt After Installation?

Contractors wet asphalt after installation as part of the compaction process. This allows the material to achieve optimal compaction in minimal time. Note a few added reasons why contractors wet asphalt after installation:

  • Newly laid asphalt is hot and pliable. By spraying water on the surface, it helps to cool down the material more rapidly. This helps to prevent deformation such as marks from vehicle tires during the compaction process.
  • The water acts as a lubricant, reducing friction between the asphalt and compaction equipment. This makes it easier for the roller to move across the surface and achieve better compaction.
  • Watering can also smooth out irregularities or surface imperfections that appear during the initial compaction phase. It allows for a more uniform and level surface.
  • Asphalt watering reduces the risk of surface cracking that often occurs when the top layer cools too rapidly.
  • Spraying water on the hot asphalt can help suppress dust emissions, improving air quality and visibility.

It’s important to note that water is typically used carefully during the compaction process. Too much water can reduce the density of the asphalt mix, leading to a weaker pavement. Excess water can also reduce skid resistance and durability.

during the asphalt paving process

Which Is Better, Asphalt or Concrete?

Asphalt and concrete are both excellent paving materials. However, despite its higher temperature, asphalt offers some great advantages over concrete.

  • Asphalt is generally more cost-effective than concrete, for both its installation and maintenance.
  • Asphalt can be laid and compacted faster than concrete, allowing for quicker completion of projects and less traffic disruption.
  • Since it’s more flexible than concrete, asphalt withstands minor movements and settlements in the underlying soil. This prevents cracking and damage.
  • Asphalt is relatively easy to repair, especially for surface cracks and potholes. Patching and resurfacing can be done quickly and cost-effectively.
  • Blacktop surfaces tend to provide a smoother and quieter ride for vehicles, making it preferable for roadways.
  • Soft asphalt absorbs impact better than concrete. In turn, it can be a better choice for playgrounds, basketball courts, and the like.
  • Additionally, softer asphalt absorbs soundwaves more than brittle concrete. It can then create a quieter environment when installed.
  • Bumpy asphalt provides added traction versus concrete.

Arlington Paving and Sealcoating is happy to explain, how hot is asphalt when paving? Hopefully we’ve helped clear up this question for you! Also, be sure to call our Arlington asphalt paving installation contractors for expert services. We’ll provide a FREE quote and answer all your asphalt paving questions.


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