As soon as asphalt is laid down, it is exposed to conditions that begin to degrade it. On average, an asphalt surface may last for 12 to 15 years without proper maintenance but taking time to learn and understand the causes of asphalt damage can help you make maintenance and repair tasks a priority to prevent further damage.
Common Factors that Damage Asphalt
There are several factors that cause asphalt to degrade, making it more susceptible to damage:
Asphalt is made up of rock, aggregates, and sand held together by a binder. When UV rays hit the surface, the binder starts breaking down, which means that nothing is holding the components together and the surface falls apart. If you start seeing a lot of loose gravel, you know that the asphalt is breaking down.
When asphalt is first laid, it’s a dark charcoal color and it flexes under traffic. Over time, oxygen fades the asphalt to gray. As the asphalt breaks down, it loses flexibility and begins to crack under heavy loads.
While asphalt is strong enough to withstand the weight of traffic, once the UV rays have begun to break down the binder and it begins to oxidize, it will begin to crack under pressure.
Once the asphalt begins to break down and cracks begin to form, rainwater will get into those cracks damaging the base. Underground water drainage may also cause damage, which means that the asphalt’s ability to handle traffic is reduced and it becomes more susceptible to cracks and potholes. When there is structural damage, repair is no longer an option. The only thing you can do is replace it.
Oil from vehicles will eat through the asphalt, degrading it. It’s important to address these issues as soon as possible or it will become difficult and expensive to repair the damage.
Asphalt Patch Repair
If your asphalt surface needs to be patched, repaired, or replaced, the professionals at Capital Paving and Sealcoating can help. Asphalt patching is a quick fix for deteriorated asphalt surfaces. This process involves applying asphalt glue, sealants, crack fillers, and other elements to seal the damaged areas of the pavement to prevent future damage.
Common Patch Repair Techniques
There are several techniques used in asphalt patch repair, including:
Throw & Roll
This is a quick and easy temporary restoration technique for emergency repair commonly used in the wintertime. First, the area will be cleaned of dust and debris. Then, hot liquid asphalt will be poured into the holes. If the hole is deep, the material may need to be applied several times. Later, a roller is run over the area, creating a flattened surface.
Semi-Permanent Patch Repairs
The throw & roll technique is designed to be a temporary fix, so it typically doesn’t last very long. Semi-permanent repair, on the other hand, though still a temporary fix, is stronger and more durable. There are three steps to this process:
- Cut and clean the area to remove debris, oils, water, loose aggregate, etc.
- Pour patch material into holes
- Flatten the patched area with a vibrating roller
There is no manual cleaning of the area required for this technique. Instead, a cleaning machine is run over it. Then, high-pressure injection equipment is used to spray and press the asphalt mix into the holes.
Slurry Surface Sealing
This technique is suitable for upper surface damage on old and new surfaces, typically on commercial properties. A sweeper is run over the entire surface, removing debris, vegetation, loose materials, and other contaminants. Poly oil chemicals are used to fill deep holes and a coating of sand is spread on top to ensure firm bonding with the slurry seal. The sealing material is then spread on the pavement.
Barricades must be placed on the area to allow the repair to cure, which can take approximately 3 to 6 hours.
Full-Depth Pothole Patch Repair
This is a permanent asphalt patch repair technique, effective for up to 6 inches of damage. The damaged area is cleared, and hot asphalt mix is poured into the holes and cracks. Once the asphalt is poured, the repair is covered with a tack coat, which creates a strong bond between the layers. Lastly, backfill is applied to ensure the patch sticks to the asphalt surface.
Let Capital Paving and Sealcoating handle your asphalt patch repair needs. We have been in the industry since 1956. We are a family-owned and operated business with the ability to handle contracts of all sizes from residential to commercial.