Potholes In Asphalt: What Causes Them And How Can They Be Repaired

Potholes In Asphalt: What Causes Them And How Can They Be Repaired

Asphalt is considered the strongest paving material, which is why majority of the roads, parking lots, and driveways today are made of asphalt.

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Regardless of how sustainable asphalt is, it isn’t by any means indestructible. It can develop cracks, depression, and potholes, especially if the seal coat has worn off.

What causes potholes to appear?

Weather and wear are to asphalt, what kryptonite is to Superman. In other words, exposure to weather elements, and being in use for years, are what damage asphalt.

Majority of the potholes appear in spring. It sounds unbelievable, but it’s real and there is a very reasonable explanation for it.

Over the years, asphalt’s water resistance reduces, especially as seal coats wear off. This results in water seeping below the surface, into the lower or foundational layers of asphalt.

The water that has seeped inside expands and contracts with changes in temperature. So the water that was compact in winter will start to expand in spring and will need more space.

These expansions and contractions of water weaken the materials inside the surface, leading to weak spots.

When heavy-duty vehicles pass over these weak spots, the previously compact material will now give way, causing potholes to appear.

How can potholes be repaired?

There are a number of methods for pothole repair, including cold patches and spray-injections. However, a more durable solution is a hot asphalt patch.

Here’s how you can put a hot asphalt patch.

Steps for asphalt repair

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

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

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

4. Add the hot asphalt mix into the hole.

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

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

Most asphalt patches are ready to be driven on within a few hours. However, as 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 the best thing to do is getting it repaved.

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