Admittedly, winter is not the best time for making asphalt repairs. The colder temperatures make it all but impossible for asphalt to set properly. The ideal temperature for installing or repairing asphalt is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Unfortunately, winter seems to be when many cracks and potholes appear. Leaving them to go until spring can lead to more extensive damage and more expensive repairs. So what can you do when you discover cracks and potholes in your asphalt in the middle of winter? Although it isn’t the best time to make asphalt repairs, there is a way to prevent them from getting worse.
Cold Mix Asphalt
What comes to mind when you think about asphalt? Is it the hopper of hot, smelly asphalt you’ve seen when new asphalt is laid down? Most likely, however there are various varieties of asphalt. Hot mix and cold mix asphalt are the two most common varieties.
When the weather is warmer, hot mix asphalt is used for new paving. Hot mix asphalt will not only not set correctly in cold weather, but it will also cool before it can be laid. It becomes impossible to work with hot mix asphalt if it cools before being laid down. As a result, asphalt installation is always done in the summer.
Cold mix asphalt is used for asphalt repairs when the temperatures drop. The mixture includes oils that keep the asphalt soft and repel moisture. Cold mix asphalt never completely hardens, making it perfect for cold weather asphalt repairs. While it isn’t a permanent fix, cold mix asphalt will fill in cracks and potholes to keep water from getting into the pavement and causing further damage. Then when spring rolls around, you can have an asphalt professional make permanent asphalt repair.
Applying Cold Mix Asphalt
A cold mix asphalt patch can be a DIY project. However, if it is not done properly, it won’t be effective. It’s always best to hire an asphalt professional to make winter asphalt repairs.
First, any ice or debris that has collected in a crack or pothole must be removed completely. If even a small chunk of ice is left behind, an air pocket will form when it melts, causing the patch to collapse. Before applying the cold mix patch, the edges should be chiseled straight up and down. With a pothole, chiseling it into a square can result in better patching results.
If the pothole is more than 2 inches deep, coarse gravel should be added and compacted. Having a proper base is just as important in asphalt repair as it is when installing new asphalt. Once the pothole is properly prepared, it’s time to lay down the cold mix asphalt and compact it thoroughly.
Cracks can be filled in with liquid asphalt, also known as crack fill. A mixture of asphalt and rubber, crack fill prevents cracks from becoming potholes.
Cold mix asphalt can take care of winter asphalt repairs, but you may be wondering if anything could be done to prevent potholes from happening in the first place.
Before the temperatures begin to drop and winter arrives, inspect your asphalt pavement for cracks and potholes. Even a small crack will allow enough water to get in and create a bigger problem. If there are any issues, you should have them taken care of before winter arrives.
After any permanent asphalt repairs, the asphalt should be seal coated. This will not only provide another layer of protection but will also give your asphalt pavement a smooth, even surface. Regular seal coating can extend the lifespan of your asphalt and keep it looking brand new.
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