Potholes In Asphalt – What Causes Them & How Can They Be Repaired?

Asphalt is considered the most robust, reliable, and affordable paving material, which is why the majority of U.S. roads, parking lots, and driveways are made of asphalt.

However, regardless of how sustainable asphalt is, it isn’t by any means indestructible. Asphalt pavements can develop cracks, depressions, and potholes, especially if their seal coat has worn off and the surface is poorly maintained.

What Causes Potholes to Appear?

Adverse weather conditions and wear are to asphalt, what kryptonite is to Superman. In other words, exposure to harsh weather and long years of use are some of the main factors that cause asphalt deterioration, resulting in potholes.

The majority of potholes appear in spring. That may seem strange, but it’s true! And there is a very logical explanation for it. Over the years, asphalt’s water resistance reduces, especially as seal coats wear off. This results in water seeping under the surface into the lower or foundational layers of asphalt.

The water that has seeped inside expands and contracts with temperature changes; expanding in the extremely cold temperature and then contracting as the temperature becomes warmer. This expansion and contraction of water weaken the materials inside the surface, leading to weak spots. Finally, when heavy-duty vehicles pass over these weak spots, the previously compact material now gives way, causing potholes to appear.

How Can Potholes Be Repaired?

There are several methods for pothole repair, including cold patches and spray-injections. However, a more durable solution is a hot asphalt patch. A hot asphalt patch is applied in the following manner:

1. Use a shovel to clean the pothole. Remove all dirt, debris, rocks, and pieces of broken asphalt. Any of these materials left behind can weaken the new pavement.

2. Heat the pothole to remove all existing moisture in the pavement. Heating also softens the material for the asphalt application.

3. Use a diamond blade saw to cut out the pothole’s edges so all damaged asphalt is removed. The good asphalt that is left will provide a strong foundation for the new material.

4. Apply the hot asphalt mix into the hole.

5. Compact the new asphalt that is applied to the pothole in order to increase water resistance and reduce penetration. Also, compaction bonds the old asphalt to the new one to form a smooth and robust surface.

6. Let the asphalt patch cool and remove any debris that may be left around the repaired area.

Most asphalt patches are ready to withstand the brunt of traffic within a few hours. However, as a precaution, it’s better to avoid driving over them for a few days.

If your asphalt surface has developed more than a few potholes, then repaving is your best option!
All in all, potholes in asphalt MUST be repaired. Doctor Asphalt LLC is the premier asphalt repair and asphalt maintenance service provider in Maplewood, MN, serving all commercial and residential clients! Get a free quote now!

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