How Unexpected Rain Can Throw A Wrench In Your Asphalt Driveway Plans


The weather can slow down or stall the installation of a new layer of asphalt for parking your car. Learn why rain delays paving installation and how to plan the process for faster completion.

Preparing the Base

Before the smooth surface of black asphalt is spread over the driveway, the installers need to grade the soil and spread a layer of gravel for good drainage. This kind of work can continue during light rain, as long as the soil is not so wet it's muddy and soft. It should only take a day or two to complete the preparation steps, so you can proceed with the first start of installation unless heavy rains and flooding soak the ground.

Laying the Asphalt

Very light rain and mist doesn't interfere with asphalt installation, but puddles and heavy rains cool the binders off too quickly and lead to uneven and cracked surfaces. Adding too much water to the hot mixture also causes the oil to separate out of the mix, damaging the finished driveway.

If heavy rains start up a few days before your planned driveway paving date, you may need to wait up to a week for the site to dry out before the installation is rescheduled. Waiting for a period of dry weather prevents potholes from developing just a few months after the initial paving.

The heat of soft asphalt also creates complications with standing water. When puddles form in the soil and gravel in the base, this trapped water turns to steam when the heat of the pavement warms it up. This steam weakens large sections of the asphalt, so let the contractors check the site every few days to ensure every layer is dry before any asphalt hits the ground.

Protecting the Site

When you live in a rainy climate, you can't always predict when rain will arrive. Well-prepared paving contractors can try water management techniques like

  • Tarps to hang over the driveway area and mixing trucks, keeping water out of the material
  • Vertical edges made out of asphalt, which prevents running water from washing onto the driveway
  • Extra heating for the asphalt being poured, especially when working in the fall and winter with cold temperatures on top of the rain.

If the paving is interrupted, the contractors can start up again and seal the seam between the two pours. The durability of a slab poured on a dry day makes it worth waiting until seasonal rains pass. For more information, contact a company like Asphalt Valley Services.


9 September 2015

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