It’s no surprise that potholes and road deterioration increase during winter and spring. While harsh winter weather contributes to pothole formation, it’s not the only culprit. Did you know that road salt plays a part as well? Road salt can further damage already deteriorated roads—especially in areas impacted by frequent freeze-thaw cycles. Explore how potholes are formed by road salt, and learn what you can do to keep your pavement in good condition.
How does road salt contribute to potholes and asphalt cracks?
Potholes are caused by water seeping into pavement and asphalt cracks. This water expands inside of the pavement as it freezes, creating a weak patch. A pothole begins to form when cars drive over this weak patch, or when freeze-thaw cycles extend the damage.
Salt can exacerbate the problem because it keeps water in liquid form at a lower temperature. With salt mixed in, water does not freeze until around 15 degrees. Water infused with salt will continue to go through the freeze-thaw cycle at lower temperatures than pure water.
For example, pure water won’t continue to freeze and thaw at temperatures varying between 15 degrees and 17 degrees. Water infused with road salt will, which increases the number of total freeze-thaw cycles. So, road salt can lead to potholes under extreme cold and in already damaged roads.
What type of salt is used on roads?
Road salt, or rock salt, is coarser than common table salt. Though its molecular makeup—sodium chloride—is the same as table salt, road salt hasn’t been purified and is typically gray or brown in color. Road salt also contains additives to make delivery easier and prevent the mineral from sticking together.
What is the best asphalt crack repair solution?
Incorrect or delayed pothole repair can lead to significant disadvantages. If road crews don’t use the right asphalt crack repair or concrete repair material, potholes can become repeat problems. Too often, untreated or repeat potholes not only grow larger but also cause additional damage and increase overall repair costs. For civilians, large potholes can mean expensive damage to cars and unpleasant travel experiences.
To make sure you approach pothole repair efficiently, leverage a premium asphalt repair material, such as UPM® Cold Mix. High-quality asphalt patching material should be workable in all weather conditions. With UPM® Cold Mix, road crews get a quick and permanent solution for potholes and large asphalt cracks—even in the snow and rain.
Ready to get proactive with your road repairs? Read about Unique Paving Material’s pavement preservation process, which offers more than a temporary fix for potholes and road deterioration.