Cold Patch Asphalt Repair Vs Hot Asphalt Repair

There are two distinct ways to repair asphalt degradation and fill in potholes. Many people don’t fully understand the difference in these two types of repair and as a result may be unaware of the difference in the short term and long term costs.

The quick, low cost and often “do it yourself”, asphalt repair is commonly called cold patch, cut back or temporary asphalt. This involves going to your local home improvement store and buying a bag of already mixed asphalt, filling in the hole and packing it down as tight as you can. The issue, with this type of solution, is that it is only temporary. Weather and wear will inevitably drag it out of the area and you will be back to square one, filling it in again. With the heavy rain and traffic in Florida, you can be sure that’s not very long. While this can be a quick and inexpensive fix for safety reasons by avoiding any vehicle damage or trip and fall situations, it has not addressed the concerns that caused the problem and it will continue to get worse and increase in size. Without sealing up the damaged area, water will penetrate the damaged area which can cause alligator cracking and more potholes in the vicinity of the existing damage.

To properly repair the asphalt, short of a complete overlay of the parking lot, is to have a professional company use hot asphalt to fill in and seal the area. This can be done one of two ways. One way is to use an infrared machine to reheat the existing asphalt, adding a binding material and any extra asphalt you may need, then compacting with a heavy compactor. Another more common way is done by first using a saw and cutting out the area that is damaged, removing any additional loose sediment. If the base layer has been eroded away with rain, then base material is reapplied to bring the area up to level below the asphalt line. This prevents any sinking the patch would create otherwise. Unlike cold patch, heated asphalt is placed to a sufficient depth and compacted with a heavy compactor while the material is above 175 degrees (ideally between 275-300 degrees). It effectively binds the material and once it cools and hardens, it solidifies it’s bond with the surrounding area’s asphalt.

At first look, a hot asphalt repair may seem more expensive, when in reality, the repetitive repair of cold patching does more damage to your existing asphalt and increases the long term cost. The key to successful asphalt repair is to recognize the area early, patch it properly with hot asphalt by a skilled and qualified company, and prevent the area from becoming a larger and more expensive concern in the future.