Dealing With Potholes – Cold Patch Vs. HMA

Dealing With Potholes – Cold Patch Vs. HMA

Key Takeaways:

  1. Potholes are an eyesore and a headache for anyone trying to maintain the neatness of their asphalt parking lot or other commercial pavement.
  2. They result from water seeping into the ground and then freezing and thawing seasonally, which causes the pavement to expand and contract beneath the surface, resulting in cracks.
  3. Other factors contributing to pothole formation include heavy traffic, poor water drainage, lack of maintenance, etc.
  4. Cold patch is typically made of a mixture of asphalt emulsion, aggregate (such as small stones or gravel), and other additives that help the material adhere to the pavement and resist damage.
  5. HMA comprises aggregate (such as crushed stone, gravel, or sand) and asphalt binder (usually asphalt cement or emulsified asphalt).
  6. For repair of smaller potholes, use a cold patch; for larger potholes, use HMA.

Potholes are an eyesore and a headache for anyone trying to maintain the neatness of their asphalt parking lot or other commercial pavement. You know what we mean – those pesky, deep crater-like holes in your asphalt that become unsightly and dangerous as they expand. Potholes can quickly ruin the pavement’s aesthetic value and functionality, making it unsafe for drivers and pedestrians on commercial parking lots, commercial driveways, parking decks, community lots (like apartment complexes), etc.

Potholes are a menace and cause billions of dollars in vehicle damage annually. Paved Assets will look at how to approach pothole repair on the commercial pavement.

The Factors That Contribute to Pothole Formation

Potholes result from water seeping into the ground and freezing and thawing seasonally. This repeated freezing and thawing action causes the pavement to expand and contract beneath the surface, resulting in cracks. Water flows through these cracks, weakening the pavement until a pothole forms.

Other than weather changes, other factors also contribute to their formation.

Heavy Traffic

Commercial pavement, such as parking lots, is more susceptible to potholes when heavy-duty vehicles go over them. Potholes can readily form over these surfaces when the surface already has cracks and holes.

Poor Water Drainage

Potholes are more likely to form when there is poor water drainage in the area. When the water accumulates, it weakens the pavement’s surface and can quickly lead to pothole formation.

Lack of Maintenance

Asphalt parking lots and other pavement without regular maintenance become more prone to pothole formation. Periodic seal coating and crack filling can prevent these surfaces from weakening over time, reducing the chances of potholes forming.

Pothole Repair – The Cold Patch VS. Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Debate

Before getting into the debate, let’s talk about how cold and hot patch repairs are performed.

Clod Patch Repair

Cold patch is a type of asphalt repair material that can quickly and easily repair potholes and other pavement damage. It is called a “cold” patch because it does not require heating or special equipment, unlike hot mix asphalt (HMA), which must be heated to a high temperature before it can be applied.

Cold patch is typically made of a mixture of asphalt emulsion, aggregate (such as small stones or gravel), and other additives that help the material adhere to the pavement and resist damage from traffic and weather. It is usually sold in bags or buckets and can be purchased at most hardware stores or home improvement centers.

Repair Process:

Repairing potholes with a cold patch is a relatively simple process, but it does require some preparation and attention to detail to ensure a long-lasting repair. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Clean the pothole: Use a broom or air compressor to remove any debris, loose stones, or dirt from the pothole. This will help the cold patch material adhere better to the surface.
  2. Fill the pothole: Pour the cold patch material into it, overfilling it slightly. Use a shovel or tamper to compact the material until it is level with the surrounding pavement.
  3. Compact the cold patch: Use a hand tamper or mechanical compactor to compact the cold patch material further. The goal is to achieve a dense, even surface that will withstand traffic and weather.
  4. Add more material if necessary: If the cold patch settles or sinks after compaction, add more material and repeat the compaction process until the surface is level.
  5. Seal the edges: Apply a thin layer of the cold patch around the edges of the repair to seal it and prevent water from seeping. You can also use a liquid asphalt sealer for added protection.
  6. Allow time to cure: Let the cold patch cure for at least 24 hours before allowing traffic on the repaired surface.

HMA Repair

HMA comprises aggregate (such as crushed stone, gravel, or sand) and asphalt binder (usually asphalt cement or emulsified asphalt). Other additives may also be added to the mix to improve the pavement’s durability, resistance to moisture, or other properties.

It is called a “hot mix” because it is heated to a high temperature (around 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit) before it is applied to make it easier to spread and compact.

The production of HMA usually involves mixing the aggregate and binder at a hot mix asphalt plant, where the mixture is heated and blended to the desired consistency. The mixture is then transported to the job site in trucks and applied to the pavement using specialized equipment, such as a paver machine.

Repair Process:

Repairing potholes using Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) is a more involved process than using cold patch material. HMA requires specialized equipment and expertise. Here are the steps to follow when repairing potholes with HMA:

  1. Clean the pothole: Use a broom or air compressor to remove any debris, loose stones, or dirt from the pothole. This will help the HMA adhere better to the surface.
  2. Cut out the damaged area: Use a saw or jackhammer to cut out the damaged area in a neat, rectangular shape. The depth of the cut should be at least 2 inches deeper than the depth of the pothole.
  3. Prepare the base: Clean the bottom and sides of the hole and apply a tack coat of asphalt emulsion to the base. This will help the new HMA adhere to the old pavement.
  4. Add new HMA: Place the new HMA into the prepared hole in layers, compacting each layer with a vibratory roller or plate compactor. Make sure the new HMA is level with the surrounding pavement.
  5. Seal the edges: Apply a thin layer of HMA around the edges of the repair to seal it and prevent water from seeping under the repair.
  6. Allow time to cure: Let the HMA cure for at least 24 hours before allowing traffic on the repaired surface.

Cold Patch Or HMA?

The argument typically made is that Cold Patch is suitable for temporary repair and HMA repair is more durable. However, our experience suggests that Cold Patch is also very good in terms of the quality of the product and it is more convenient to use. Its only limitation is that it is more expensive.

Bottomline: For repair of smaller potholes, use a cold patch; for larger potholes, use HMA.

Related: 7 Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Commercial Pavement Maintenance Company

Conclusion

Staying on top of pothole repairs and maintenance is essential. The most important takeaway is to act fast when noticing signs of damage in your asphalt pavement. A small crack can quickly spread & form a large pothole, costing you more time and money. By taking preventative measures & hiring a professional paving contractor, you can help ensure your pavement is safe for drivers and pedestrians.

Ensure Pothole Repairs to Protect Your Asphalt Assets in Henderson, NC

Don’t let potholes ruin your asphalt assets in Henderson, NC! Get repair service from Paved Assets today. We are the leading paving contractors in North Carolina, and our services span from asphalt repair to seal coating.

Contact us to get a free estimate.

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