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How To Get Your Roof And Asphalt Driveway Ready For A Winter's Freeze And Thaw Cycles

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When you live in a northern climate, you may have to deal with winter snow and ice and its effects on your roof and driveway. Because it can be common for temperatures in the winter to rise and fall, constant freeze-thaw patterns can do damage on and around your home. Here are ways freeze-thaw temperatures can damage your asphalt driveway and your roof, and how you can prevent them from happening.

Seal Your Asphalt

As winter approaches, it is a good idea to do a little fall maintenance to your asphalt driveway to get it ready for winter snow and ice. Any cracks in your asphalt will grow during winter's freeze-thaw cycle. Asphalt's dark-colored surface absorbs heat from the sun during the day to thaw any ice and snow. Then, when the sun sets and temperatures fall, the asphalt will freeze and cause any snow melt in its cracks to expand. Expanding ice during freezing is quite strong, as it exerts 24 tons of pressure per square foot. If you can fill any cracks in your asphalt before winter, you can prevent larger cracks and potholes from forming over the winter.

You can repair your own asphalt driveway or hire it to be completed professionally by contractors such as those at To do your own repairs, use asphalt patching, sealing and filling products you can find at a local home improvement store. These products are ready-to-use and are available in various sized containers, depending on how many cracks or holes you need to repair. 

To repair up to 1/2-inch wide cracks in your asphalt, fill them with an asphalt filler product, then seal the filled-in crack with an asphalt sealing product. For patching asphalt holes and cracks larger than 1/2-inch wide, vertically chisel out any loose asphalt from the damaged spot. Then, remove all the lose asphalt and any dirt, weeds, or other debris from the hole. Pour two inches of asphalt patching product into the hole and tamp it down with a tamping tool or a wooden four by four post until the layer has compacted to one-inch thick. It is important that the layer is compacted to remove any air pockets and to interlock the asphalt's composite pieces together. Otherwise, your repair will crumble apart.

Prevent Roof Ice Dams

Heat escaping from your home and roof during the winter can allow snow and ice to melt, then run down your roof. At your roof's cold overhang, the water will refreeze and form an ice dam on your roof. Ice dams can get under your roofing shingles, damaging them and allowing water to leak into your home. But, there are several things you can do to prevent ice dams from forming.

A preventative measure to stop ice dams in your roof is by preventing your home's heat from leaking the attic to warm your roof. The colder your roof is, the less snow melt you will have to refreeze into ice. A roofing professional can evaluate your attic for any heat leaks and plug them with caulking and foam and make sure your insulation is adequate, which will also save on your home heating bill. 

There are simple fixes you can do to your roof by yourself. If you live in a one-story home, buy a roof rake and scrape the snow off your roof after each snow fall. Make sure you are careful when raking the snow from your roof as not to break any shingles. They will be brittle in the cold weather and can be prone to breaking. You can also install roof heating cables along the edge of your roof. Once heating cables are installed in a zig-zag pattern along your roof, they will heat the roof's surface to prevent any snow and ice from collecting to damage your roof.

Make sure to get your pavement and roof ready for winter's freeze and thaw cycles.