Asphalt pothole repair is a pretty routine maintenance practice in regions that experience moderate to severe winters. Everyone knows what potholes are, and the dangers and annoyances they cause for traffic and properties, but what exactly is a pothole and how are they formed? Let’s dig a little deeper into the anatomy of a pothole.
Basic science dictates that when objects get cold or freeze they expand and contract. During the winter months, pavement contraction often forms cracks. These cracks likely start as small hairline flaws, that initially seem minor, but can cause much larger issues in the future, like potholes. Here’s how potholes are formed:
- Cracks naturally get deeper over time.
- During the winter, temperatures fluctuate from freezing to above freezing.
- During the day, when temperatures reach above freezing the ice that forms within the pavement cracks melts and turns to water at the surface level. But the deeper parts of the pavement remain frozen.
- At night when the temperature drops again, the surface water sitting within the pavement crack refreezes.
- When it refreezes, it expands lifting the pavement, creating a bump.
- The next day when the temperatures increase again, the ice under the pavement bump melts, but the bump created in the pavement remains.
- When a car then drives over the hollow bump, the pavement gets crushed creating a hole.
- This process will continue over and over, creating a larger hole each time. This is why large potholes are seen nearly everywhere following the winter months.
The harshness of winter is unavoidable, and because of this, maintenance and repairs are often inevitable. If your pavement is left with numerous potholes following winter, there are a couple of asphalt pothole repair methods that work best.
- Hot asphalt patching – A hot asphalt patch can be used for quick surface repairs, or deeper repairs that require removal of pavement over the patching area. In this method, hot asphalt is mixed and used to cover the broken surface and formed as a patch to prevent water from penetrating and causing further damage to your asphalt.
- Saw-cut patch – During this asphalt repair, deteriorated areas of the pavement are saw cut and removed. These cut out areas are then filled with hot mix asphalt, according to the desired depth and grade, making this a more permanent fix to the problem.
- Milling – Milling involves grinding the pavement’s surface to a desired depth, and the millings are then loaded into a waiting dump truck to be recycled. A new layer of asphalt can then be paved to the thickness of pavement surface that was removed. Since milling allows for you to choose the depth of the repair, this method can save in costs.
As always, pavement maintenance and preventative measures are extremely important and the most proactive way to maintain your blacktop. One of the most vital and cost-effective pavement practices is crack filling.
- Crack filling is the process of filling asphalt cracks in the early stages by using hot rubberized asphalt crack filler, preventing the crack from growing much bigger.
- By being diligent about crack filling during the warmer months, you can decrease the number of potholes you see following winter.
- If your pavement goes into winter with existing cracks that are left unfilled, you are almost guaranteeing that you’ll be dealing with some sort of larger crack or pothole after winter.
By being proactive and diligent about pavement maintenance and repair, you’re ensuring that you get the most out of your pavement investment. EastCoat Pavement services are your paving professionals for all asphalt maintenance practices like asphalt pothole repair! Contact us today for your free consultation!