Getting Started Repairing Asphalt Concrete
Does your asphalt surface need a little TLC? Whether you are considering to hire an asphalt contractor or a do-it-yourself type (DIY), 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.
How to repair asphalt in Very Good and Good conditions?
In this case you will be most likely 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. For larger cold asphalt crack repairs simple tools like the DROP POT
are available to significantly speed up the job. Cold asphalt repair comes in various chemical formulations including epoxy asphalt repair such as Flomix
and other rubberized crack sealants
. From cold pour crack fillers and DIY products like Latex-ite
sold in Home Depot or Quikcrete
sealer at Lowes, to professional GOLDSTAR
cold pour crack sealant and other commercial sealcoats can all provide reliable and clean results. Asphalt tape can also be used to reapair cracks although they do not seal the crack from the inside only the top. Driveway Medic
is a popular brand that is used for blacktop.
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. An excellent choice for small sealcoating projects like small residential driveways the SEAL JET
is an electrically powered 40 gallon pressure sealcoat sprayer. 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.
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
Before repairs can be done ruts in asphalt should be grinded down, 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
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
, together with multiple hot pour pots such as the HOTWHEELS
product. Smaller walk behind melters like the HOTBOX 10
offer affordability, provide speedy results and are as simple as a grill to operate.
For added control and safety the HOTBOX 10E
combines digital temperature control with automatic fire ignition and detection, so the operator does not have to manually adjust the flame to maintain the correct temperature or re-ignite the torch on blow-outs.
Our TORCH FILL PRO
hot asphalt repair product, recommend for DIY projects and startup asphalt contractors, includes rolled asphalt crack filler, propane torch, and trowel. If you are on a tight budget the TORCH FILL PRO
might be a good way to do a professional job with big savings.
Hot asphalt repair is recommended for multiple freeze thaw cycle climates such as the Northeastern region states (New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maine, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Vermont and Rhode Island) 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. QPR asphalt patch
can be used in wet conditions and does not require mixing.
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.