Winter Asphalt vs. Summer Asphalt

To the untrained eye, asphalt probably looks exactly the same, no matter what time of year. It’s generally a mix of tiny rocks glued together with a black tar. However, asphalt is more involved than that. Though its purpose is fairly similar in nature no matter where it’s used, the process of mixing and pouring asphalt differs, especially from season to season. For example, there are large differences between asphalt used in the winter and asphalt used in the summer, and knowing the differences between these two types of asphalts can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle when it comes to hiring an asphalt contractor.

Summer Asphalt

If you’re laying asphalt in summer, you need to have the right kind. It’s available for purchase between April and December.

Hot Asphalt

Hot asphalt is the go-to substance for large jobs. It’s what you see being used during summer road construction, as well as paving of large areas, such as a long driveway. It’s mixed at 300 degrees Fahrenheit and must be kept up to that temperature. Generally, this type of asphalt may only be applied when the ground is warm and dry, which is why it cannot be used in winter. Cool temperatures will cause the mix to cool too quickly. This is a permanent asphalt and must be applied just a few hours after it’s mixed.

Hot Box Asphalt

In the event that a mix of asphalt has cooled at the worksite, this mix can be rejuvenated. It is reheated by propane or diesel heating systems at the worksite, so that work does not need to stop because of cooled asphalt. This method is generally reserved for large worksites.

Winter Asphalt

Winter requires cold versions of asphalt for patching that can be purchased between January and March.

MC Cold Mix

This mix is a temporary cold mix patching material. It takes a while for this type of asphalt to cure, but it is used in the winter for small patches. Such patching cannot be used for heavy traffic areas, such as highways or busy city streets. However, it does the trick for low traffic areas, and it does not have to be used immediately after purchase. It can be be stockpiled for later use.


For permanent patching in the winter, UPM is the accepted standard. It can be used any time of the year with any weather conditions. It can also be saved and used later or stored.

Being informed on the different kinds of asphalt will help you make better decisions regarding which type of asphalt you’ll need for your specific job. If you have more questions, feel free to call us today.