Can Driveways be Paved in the Rain? (Guide)

Can Driveways be Paved in the Rain

Looking at the material that driveways are paved with, the obvious answer would be no.  The main reason is that concrete or asphalt, which most driveways are paved with is, would not cure properly and they advise not getting concrete or asphalt wet for at least 24 hours. 

Asphalt Driveways—can They be Paved in the Rain?

The simple answer is no, it cannot be done while it is raining heavily but maybe in light rain. Rain is one of the worst enemies of asphalt.   

Paving with asphalt should also be delayed if it has rained recently and the ground is still wet. 

Asphalt is made from a material that contains a mixture of oils that repels water. 

If an asphalt driveway is paved while it is raining it could cause results that were not intended.  It could affect the quality of the driveway.

If an asphalt driveway is paved during rain, the repelling of water could mean that there will holes or cracks in the asphalt and the cracks could quickly turn into big holes. 

This is even possible if asphalt driveways are paved when the ground is still wet. 

You will see immediately any damage the asphalt will have. 

The oil that will separate from the asphalt as it is repelling the rain and will rise to the top of the driveway and craters may form. 

This can even happen if it starts to rains soon after the asphalt is put down.

One thing to note is that asphalt is not affected by light rainfall as long as the driveway was correctly laid down before it started to rain. 

The real damage that can happen if the driveway is paved in the rain is called waterlogging. 

This happens when the rainwater has had enough time to sit on the surface.  As already mentioned, it can lead to cracks.

Other scenarios that could happen if an asphalt driveway is paved in the rains.

  • There could be asphalt shrinkage, which will expose the gravel components of the material used to make the driveway.
  • In cold temperatures, if rainwater soaks into the asphalt material it can cause it to expand

Rain will also cool down the hot asphalt and can make proper compaction very difficult. 

Asphalt lifts have to have time to develop through bonds and to do this so there can be no moisture.  When it is raining, the bonding process is interrupted and then there will insufficient compaction. 

When rain makes puddles on the new asphalt it can transition into steam in minutes, which can cause the asphalt to separate from the aggregate.

Concrete Driveways—can They be Paved in the Rain?

Yes, concrete can be paved in the rain but it is not the most ideal conditions. 

This is because of the chemical makeup of the concrete, there can be complications if it is paved in the rain.  It is important to know the risks of paving concrete in the rain and why it can be difficult. 

The general consensus is that rain should not go near concrete.  The reason that you should keep rainwater from your concrete is to ensure that it will not be damaged.

If you have to pave your driveway with concrete you should make sure that you are taking the proper precautions to prevent it from being damaged. 

When paving with concrete, in the rain, it can affect the overall strength of the concrete because it will start to become soft. 

If you try to pave with soft concrete it can become prone to cracking as concrete will lose its abrasion resistance. 

Rainwater can also ruin the surface of concrete and make it unusable for many reasons.

Soft concrete that has cracked should never be used to pave driveways or as a building material.

Concrete that has been rained on may be able to be fixed but it depends on how bad the rain has impacted it. 

Fixing rained on concrete can be time-consuming.  You also need to take into consideration how effective the fix will be. 

Sometimes you just have to take the loss and pour the concrete again.  For isolated fixes, you should do it immediately after the concrete has been exposed to the rain but taking some more concrete and filling in the cracks. 

If the problem is intense you may be able to fix it with reinforcement and a second pour. 

If there is sectional damage, you will generally remove that portion of concrete and replace it.

If it has rained and the ground is still wet, do not pave your driveway with concrete. 

You will just be wasting good concrete because the concrete will be damaged beyond repair.  You will be stuck with a messy workplace.

Best Time to Pave Your Driveway

The best time to pave your driveway is when the weather is dry and has been for several days, and there is no rain in the forecast for several days. 

The ideal temperature would be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit; generally during late spring or early summer but it will all depend on where you live.

The main reason that you want warmer temperatures when paving your driveway is that with asphalt, the hot mixture is more pliable and manageable for a longer period of time.

Conclusion

  • Simply put, asphalt or concrete driveways should be paved in the rain or paved if the ground is wet and muddy.
  • There are some forms of asphalt that will cool too fast in chilly rain while another hardens slower if paved in the rain.
  • Asphalt has to be applied to a rigid surface so if the ground is wet or soggy from previous rain, the area will not be rigid but soft. 
  • When it rains, the asphalt mixture can be difficult to handle and apply. 
  • If there are puddles of water and you try to put asphalt over it, the moisture could cause the binder and aggregate to separate. 
  • The rain can change the temperature of the asphalt and prevent it from adhering to the surface.

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