How to Repair Potholes

Pavement covers thousands of square miles in the U.S., and all that pavement needs proper maintenance to keep America moving. One of the most common paving issues, especially in asphalt, is potholes. Potholes can roll ankles, damage your suspension, and are ugly to look at.

If you have a pothole on your asphalt pavement, you need a thorough repair to avoid future problems, but what if it’s cold out?  The thawing and freezing cycles are one of the biggest reasons for potholes, but you can’t make a permanent fix in the middle of December. Asphalt needs warm temperatures to properly cure but don’t worry, there are temporary solutions.

Let’s learn the two different ways you can repair potholes including the differences between temporary and permanent fixes, why there are two different steps, and how to make sure your repair sticks.

Pothole Repair

How to Temporarily Repair Potholes

You can’t always make a permanent repair on asphalt immediately. In some cases, you will need to make a temporary patch on asphalt until you’re ready for a permanent fix. Why can’t you make a permanent fix every time? Because of two key reasons – temperature and compaction.

Hot-mix asphalt, the asphalt that makes up our highways, requires certain temperature thresholds to set and compact properly. Hot mix asphalt that’s poured into a cold environment will not compact properly. An improper pour leads to asphalt that will chip and damage easily. Never attempt a hot-mix repair unless temperatures are well above freezing for many consecutive days. However, if you do have temperatures, this is called skin patching and it may require help from a professional paving company.

While hot-mix repairs might be out of your expertise, most homeowners can handle temporary, or cold-mix, asphalt repairs. To patch a pothole with cold-mix asphalt, follow these simple steps:

  • With a broom, clean the pothole of all loose debris including dust, dirt, and any rocks.

  • Fill the hole with cold-patch asphalt, available from your local hardware store. Pour the asphalt approximately a ½” above the surface.

  • Compact the asphalt with a tamper, or any heavy object that provides a level, weighted surface, like a shovel. Then drive over the pothole with your front tires without turning your wheel while over the newly installed cold-patch asphalt.

  • Let the patch cure. A patch can handle normal traffic immediately, but you should wait at least three weeks before turning wheels or parking vehicles on top of the cold patch.

If you’re ever uncomfortable with making the patch yourself, call your local asphalt company for a quick fix.

How to Permanently Repair Potholes

If mother nature grants you warm temperatures (well above freezing for 48+ hours) you can make a permanent pothole repair. Unlike cold-patch repair, permanent pothole fixes are more complicated and normally require the expertise of a local paving expert.

An asphalt expert will properly remove the temporary patch, clean the pothole of all debris, pour a perfectly formulated hot asphalt mix into the pothole, and compact it to the perfect density. A few hours later, your asphalt is as good as new.

Repairing Potholes the Right Way

Skin patching and installing cold-patch asphalt are among the temporary repairs for a pothole. They typically don’t last a long time and may require future permanent repairs. For temporary repairs during the colder months use cold-mix asphalt and save a skin patch with hot-mix asphalt repair for the professionals when the weather permits. If you want to repair the pothole properly and for the long run, Colorado Pavement Solutions will recommend a full depth removal and replacement patch of the asphalt around the pothole. Repair your potholes the right way, and you can enjoy your pavement as it was intended. Call us today for a free estimate on pothole repair.