In the past, the response to repairing potholes has been somewhat inadequate.
Asphalt paving contractors have merely had the choice between a temporary solution and an at best, semi-permanent solution.
Traditionally, pothole repair has fallen to meaning one of five solutions;
THROW AND ROLL
This is a pretty basic repair and not really the one you want to pick as a method to rectify your pothole, unless there is really no other option.
Throw and roll is simply putting an asphalt patch on the pothole and then repeatedly driving over it with something very heavy (i.e. a tractor, lorry, Sherman tank).
Inevitably you will have to do this again later on and it therefore is not the most economical option.
Sophisticated, it is not – but as a temporary method of repair it’ll do.
To edge seal a pothole, you complete the basic throw and repair method but then go a bit further.
After compacting the hole, you add some asphalt tack to the patch edge and also to the existing pavement or road.
Then sand is added on top of the tack. That’s it!
Far more reliable than throw and roll is this semi-permanent method.
This involves taking any dirt and water out of the hole, giving it a trim and then putting the patch mix inside it.
It is then compacted down with a vibratory roller.
This is only second best to a full depth replacement – or the new infrared treatment!
Similar to the semi-permanent method, this needs a bit more in the way of special equipment.
Water and dirt is removed from the pothole, then a tacking coat of binder is applied to the sides and base of the pothole.
This is then covered up with aggregate.
One good thing about this treatment is there is no need to go over the pothole repeatedly with a heavy vehicle.
Unless, you really like doing it!
FULL DEPTH ROADWAY REPLACEMENT
For a more full-on repair, there is the full depth replacement.
The existing, broken asphalt is mashed to a pulp and then mixed in with water and cement.
This is then compacted, to make a base for the asphalt surfacing.
Following this method is the best treatment, aside from the infrared treatment, however it is fairly labor intensive.
For this method, an infrared panel heats up the asphalt in the pothole. This softens it until it becomes a hot mixture, but the beauty is that it doesn’t burn.
The asphalt is soft and hot and is recycled into something usable from a broken down mess.
Once the asphalt is hot, rake the newly recycled asphalt into the hole and then load more asphalt on top it.
This is then smoothed over and compacted, until it has made a very tough and reliable thermal bond between the existing pavement and the repaired hole.
SO WHY CHOOSE INFRARED?
One of the reasons that the infrared heating method could potentially revolutionize pothole treatment and make the lives of asphalt paving contractors easier, is because it is cost effective and a highly efficient way of repairing a pothole.
The fact the materials are recycled, makes it cheaper and easier to do and requires less fresh asphalt. It also helps to make it environmentally friendlier.
The infrared heating method makes a smooth and seamless patch. This makes it more water resilient and less liable to fresh damage.
Finally, the method is far more permanent than some of the other methods currently on option.
So, the next time your team has a pothole to fix, why not consider an infrared heated repair?