Asphalt is a dark, thick and adhesive form of petroleum. Also known as bitumen, it is mainly utilized in paving different structures such as roads, running pathways, tunnels, runways in airports, and parking lots. This is predominantly because it is water resistant, reusable, cost-effective and easy to repair.
What causes asphalt to break down?
Just like any other material such as concrete, asphalt is subject to damage. There are various factors that contribute to crumbling of asphalt pavements:
The reason why asphalt is perfect as a paving material is its elasticity. Sun's rays contain ultraviolet rays which oxidize it, therefore making it stiff. This makes it lose its flexibility and become vulnerable to cracks and formation of crevices on it.
Asphalt is susceptible to water and even the presence of moisture. This is because water, if left stationary on the asphalt pavements, can weaken the asphalt binder components. If not properly dealt with, for a longer period of time it may cause cracking and at worst cases lead to stripping.
Large and heavy vehicles may cause your asphalt pavements to crack especially if left to stay still in the pavements. The weight of the vehicles act down on the asphalt along the tire paths and weaken it. This may cause rutting over a long period of time.
If any oil product such as fuel is left on the surface of asphalt over a substantial amount of time, it is bound to cause damage to it. This is because time enables oil to immerse itself in asphalt and weaken its elasticity, therefore deteriorating its durability.
When should I patch my paved surface?
Timing the perfect time at which you choose to do asphalt repair and patching of damaged pavements is not easy. This is because you first have to understand the extent of the damage, and then opt for the best type of patching that goes best with your planned time. There are two forms of patching and both have different times at which they can be done.
Cold patches are mostly used to repair potholes. This is because cold patches can be done at any time of the year. They do not need to be subjected and maintained at a specific temperature and can be done at the current surrounding temperature. Keep in mind that cold patches are just a rapid repair option for asphalt pavements and they are only temporary as you look for better ways of repair.
This is the most suitable alternative when it comes to patching your pavements, especially potholes. This is because applying a hot patch provides an enduring and permanent solution to any pavement damage. Although this is the best choice, it cannot be done during the cold weather. This is because hot patches have to last in that state long enough to finish the patching.
Which type of patching is the best?
Depending on the level of damage on your pavements, one may opt for any of the following types of patching:
This type of patching is the most suitable to repair major damages that extend more than 4 inches vertically from your surface. If the current asphalt material is deteriorated and cannot be used to provide strength to the patch, it is necessary to remove all of the asphalt vertically to the supporting stone base.
Depending on the strength of the stone base, one has to decide whether to also remove it, if it cannot withstand the weight of the asphalt or to apply the new compacted asphalt mix. If one decides to do away with the stone base, the new asphalt mix is required to be thicker.
This type of asphalt repair and patching is expensive but is a more permanent solution to your pavement damages.
This type of patching is done if the extent of damage on the asphalt layer is minimal and only extends to less than 2 inches into the pavement. This type of asphalt repair and patching is not permanent because major issues such as a weak stone base may be overlooked resulting in more serious damages in the future.
However, if you are looking for a less expensive type of asphalt repair and patching, surface patching is most suitable, as you look for better options.
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