Asphalt failures are the result of water seeping into pavement through unsealed or improperly sealed cracks. Water will deteriorate the base material causing a void. The asphalt will fall into the void causing unsightly and potentially dangerous potholes.
There are two primary goals to asphalt repair:
1) Seal any existing cracks in the asphalt, no matter how small.
2) Patch any existing potholes, which are almost always created by small cracks which have been left untreated.
If potholes go untreated, they will eventually become larger craters in the asphalt, and will become more expensive and more difficult to fix.
Asphalt Repair Basics
Sealing cracks is perhaps the most important aspect of any asphalt repair. Water intrusion will deteriorate asphalt, so leaving any cracks in the asphalt where the water will seep in will assuredly destroy the asphalt, especially if it is subject to freezing and thawing. Filling cracks is a quick fix, but it is a temporary solution. The best method to prolong the life of the asphalt is to completely seal any cracks as they develop.
There are typically four different size categories used to classify asphalt:
- Hairline (1/8″)
- Small (1/2-2″)
- Medium (2-3/4″)
- Large (3/4″+)
Each of these different types of cracks should be treated differently. Typically, to most effectively seal existing cracks, CAM service will utilize a product with adequate elasticity, and extremely strong adhesive properties. We will then remove all of the extra material within the crack, clean it thoroughly so the filler sticks, and fill it with liquid asphalt from top to bottom. We will it until the adhesive reaches about 1/4"-1/8" below the top of the crack. While the crack is being filled, we will take great care to ensure that no air bubbles form.
Potholes form when cracks remain untreated. There are four types of pothole patching:
1) Surface patching
This is typically a temporary solution. We will mill the pothole down in order to get rid of all the deteriorated material, then use a 1/4" aggregate to tie the pothole to the existing pavement and to create a shallower milling depth.
2) Spray-injection patching
This is a semi-permanent solution, and is typically used during wet orcold or wet weather. Spray-injection patching includes cleaning the patch with compressed air, then using forced air to place in the aggregate with the hot emulsion, then following up with dry aggregate.
3) Infrared heat patching
This is the least expensive, and fastest option. Infrared heat patching heats the top few inches of pavement much like a surface patch. The asphalt is then scarified, reworked, and compacted.
4. Cold weather emergency patching
When the weather is not ideal, but you need a patch, CAM service will use a temporary method such as throw-and-roll, throw-and-go, semi-permanent, or spray injection. This mends the surface for a limited time until the weather improves and the pothole can be permanently addressed.
One thing is for certain: If you allow cracks and potholes to form, and don't address them early, you will undoubtedly face a more difficult and more expensive repair. It is always better to maintain the asphalt and repair small problems before they become big problems.