Asphalt Repair Strategies and Tactics

  June 27, 2013

Common asphalt repairs include resealing the surface, sealing cracks, applying cold- and hot-mix patches to potholes, and applying skin patches. A hot patch is more permanent than a cold patch and might be necessary during cold weather to temporarily repair a hole in a road surface.

Workers can make cold-mix patches by sweeping up loose rubble, using compressed air to blow away residual materials, applying a primer, and pouring the cold mix from bags into the hole. The final step is tamping with a hand tamper, air-powered tamper, or gas-powered vibrating tamper. The thicker the patch, the more compaction passes are needed.

Because hot-mix patches are intended to be more permanent than cold-mix patches, they tend to require more preparation work.

First, the worker must dig out the hole with pick and shovel or air-operated pavement breaker to square the sides and bottom to a uniform depth of at least 5 inches. Gravel is replaced to bring the depth to 3 inches and tamped using a hand or power tamper. The hot-mix asphalt fills the top 3 inches. The worker then rakes the patch evenly to 1 inch higher than the adjacent pavement.

The next step is to tamp the asphalt with a hand or powered tamper or roller to a level slightly higher than the adjacent pavement. This allows for further compaction by traffic without creating a depression, which can collect water.

Where alligatoring affects large surface areas or fine cracks cover large areas, one proven remedy is a skin patch. One to three workers can apply a sealer coat to the area after cleaning all loose rubble from the surface. Next, they apply a 1-inch-thick layer of hot-mix asphalt and rake it out evenly with a wide asphalt rake. Next, they tamp the hot-mix surface using a powered roller to ensure good compaction. Skin patches are appropriate only when the base is solid and properly graded for water runoff.


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