Simple Rules on How to Repair Asphalt

Surrender interview site, showing Pemberton Avenue concrete slab road type with gutter (asphalt construction typical on Union and Confederate Avenues), view to the sw. - Vicksburg National Military Park Roads & Bridges, Vicksburg, Warren County, MS

This article is presented by Pavemade a as general guide to asphalt repair. We feature our asphalt and concrete crack repair and seal products such as the HOTBOX 10HOTBOX 30crack filler and sealer, and High BTU PROPANE TORCH but also discuss other products and options available on the market.

Getting Started Repairing Asphalt Concrete

Does your asphalt surface need a little TLC? Whether you are considering hiring an asphalt contractor or you're more of a do-it-yourself type, there are common steps in repairing asphalt. This article gives you the simple rules on how to repair asphalt. Asphalt repairs are continually needed in most roadway applications including roads, parking lots, driveways, sports surfaces, airport runways, and pavements. The same repairs can be done on vertical walls made of concrete, stone, and brick. Crack and seal repair is the same whether it’s roads or roof shingles.

Asphalt repair methods depend on the types of cracks, other surface features like ruts and potholes, and weather conditions present.

Asphalt is primarily a mix of bitumen binding together an aggregate of soft rocks just as concrete is a mix of Portland cement binding an aggregate of hard rocks. Whether you call it asphalt mix, asphalt cement, or asphalt concrete, chemically and physically it’s the binding together of aggregates.

There are two primary blends of asphalt mix. One is Asphaltic Concrete Pavement which is strong and stiff and thus provides structural strength. Bituminous surface treatments or hot-rolled asphalt which contains more bitumen and thus produces a far smoother and quieter surface.

Step 1. Inspect and rank your asphalt condition The first step is to determine the overall condition of the asphalt on a scale from 1-5, from Very Poor (1) to Very Good (5) respectively. Asphalt in Very Good (5) condition would have minimal hairline cracks and color fading. Asphalt in Good (4) condition will have very thin hairline cracks as well as medium size cracks. Asphalt in Fair (3) condition will have large size cracks and small potholes or minor ruts. Asphalt in Poor (2) condition will have large cracks and large potholes or major ruts. Asphalt in Very Poor (1) condition will have alligator patch cracks and severe ruts indicating foundation problems.

Concrete road markers from original highway construction, near MM 7 - Hana Belt Road, Between Haiku and Kaipahulu, Hana, Maui County, HI

How to repair asphalt in Very Good and Good conditions? In this case you will most likely be able to simply use cold asphalt repair. Hot asphalt repair is generally recommended for asphalt cracks that are more than ½” in width. If you are located in a region that goes through multiple freeze/thaw cycles, hot asphalt repair is recommended. Cold pourable asphalt repair comes in various small bottles as well as standard 5 gallon buckets. Cold asphalt repair can be squeezed, poured, and squeegeed directly into asphalt cracks. Cold asphalt repair comes in various chemical formulations including epoxy asphalt repair such as Flomix and other rubberized crack sealants including Sealmaster. From cold pour crack fillers and DIY products like Latex-ite sold in Home Depot or Quikcrete sealer at Lowes, to our own professional quality GOLDSTAR, cold pour crack sealant and other commercial sealcoats can all provide reliable and clean results. Asphalt tape can also be used to repair cracks - although they do not seal the crack from the inside, only the top. Our own Tar Tape is a popular solution, both in burn on and self sealing varieties.

The advantages of cold pour crack fill include no asphalt heating and melting equipment needed and it is simple to apply. The downsides for cold asphalt repair is that it is generally more expensive per pound and per linear foot than hot asphalt repair material, and it may not last as long as hot asphalt repair. View a Consumer Report on cold patch vs. hot asphalt.

After filling cracks, applying a fresh layer of sealcoat waterproofs the pavement surface and treats any hairline cracks. The blacktop look also enhances the pavement and overall appearance of the asphalt seal and repair. For larger sealcoating jobs simple centrifugal trash pump sealcoating sprayers are a convenient way to spray directly out of a 275 gallon totes of sealcoat. Cold asphalt repair is more suited to temperate climates with minimal freezing conditions such as California and some Southern states.

Detail view of northeast corner showing door (note: repaired cracks in stone) - Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Savannah, Chatham County, GA

How to repair asphalt in Fair and Poor conditions? Repairing asphalt in Fair and Poor conditions usually require hot asphalt repair, either hot patching or hot crack filling. Hot asphalt crack repair can be carried out with asphalt crack repair equipment such as the HOTBOX 10 asphalt melter and applicator. The HOTBOX 10 is a modern upgrade to the classic MA-10 melter applicator.

Before repairs can be done, ruts in asphalt should be ground down, and cracks and asphalt holes cleaned and dried. Joints and cracks may need to be routed and should be free of vegetation. A direct fire torch is ideal for burning off vegetation and heating crack walls to improve adhesion. The HOTBOX 10 mobile asphalt melter applicator comes with a front torch option.

Hot asphalt crack repair products are designed for the melting and application of hot crack sealants. Uses for a crack repair machine include asphalt and concrete crack repair and joint filling.

Larger asphalt repairs can be achieved using a larger liquid gallon capacity asphalt melter, such as a HOTBOX 30. Smaller walk behind melters like the HOTBOX 10 offer affordability, provide speedy results, and are as simple as a grill to operate.

Hot asphalt repair is recommended for multiple freeze thaw cycle climates such as the Northeastern region states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware) and the Upper Midwest regions (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota).

Cold patch asphalt repair and cold pour asphalt crack repair may be used for Fair and Poor conditions depending on the chemical formulations. Some cold patch asphalt repair products have been formulated to be used in the presence of water with good results.

CLOSER VIEW OF CRACK IN ATTIC WALL - National Memorial Arch, King of Prussia, Montgomery County, PA

How to repair asphalt in Very Poor condition? For asphalt in Very Poor condition, base or sub-base foundation work needs to be performed. Infrared asphalt repair can be used to perform repairs on larger sections ideal for asphalt parking lot repair.

Maintaining a good crown cross slope on a road surface is the key to good roads. A 2% slope cross section with a peak at the center allows water to run off the road surface preventing future cracks to occur. When roads are over exposed to water, problems begin.

The best way to maintain your pavement investment is to perform just in time maintenance. One primary concern is the overall stress load bearing on the road. For roads that have greater stress loads, such as trucks and cars, hot asphalt repair will perform better. Regardless of the climate of your city or the loads on your roads, maintaining your pavement investment early and often prevents expensive rebuilding later. Finally, results show keeping our roadways in good shape not only increases curb appeal but also keeps communities together.

CLOSER VIEW OF CRACK IN ATTIC WALL - National Memorial Arch, King of Prussia, Montgomery County, PA