Pothole repair is a vital part of asphalt maintenance and repair that can save you from a number of problems. While asphalt is one of the most robust construction materials, it is by no means indestructible. Heavy traffic, weight from heavy-duty vehicles, and exposure to harsh weather conditions can result in cracks, potholes, and depressions.
There is a myth that repair work on asphalt cannot be carried out during winter. We are going to debunk it, which will also give us the answer to our initial question, ‘Is winter the best time to fix your potholes?’
Is pothole repair impossible in winter?
It is preferable to carry out all repair work before or after winter. This is because the low temperatures and moisture from rain, fog, frost, and snow make the conditions unfavorable for more permanent repair options like hot mix asphalt.
However, pothole repair is not impossible in winters. There is more than one way to skin a cat. If you can’t use a hot asphalt mix, there are other methods you can use to fix potholes. The result is pothole repair.
What are some methods of pothole repair?
Cold Patch – This a temporary solution to prevent further damage, but it is the best solution for harsh winters. A cold patch needs to be removed after 60 to 90 days of installation, so hot mix asphalt repairs can be carried out.
Saw Cut & Removal – This is a permanent fix that uses hot mix asphalt. It can be done only on days when the temperatures are above 40°F and when the weather is dry. A substitute to this is warm mix asphalt for slightly lower temperatures.
Infrared Asphalt Restoration – This method recycles the existing asphalt by heating it and mixing it with a new hot mix asphalt. Temperature does not affect infrared asphalt restoration, depending on the size of the pothole.
Throw & Patch – This uses hot mix asphalt to fill potholes, and the material is then compacted with an asphalt roller or plate tamper. Throw & Patch is ideal if you have many potholes in an already deteriorated pavement.
Although the throw & patch method is more cost-effective than saw cut & removal / infrared asphalt restoration, it does not last as long. It will outlast a cold patch by 5 to 6 years.
If you have a small budget for repair, then you have two options – get a cold patch for the winter and do a hot mix asphalt repair in spring, or opt for a throw & patch till you can raise enough capital for a repaving or hot mix asphalt treatment.
The extent of damage and your budget is essentially what your choice of pothole repair method should rest on.
Why should you repair potholes immediately?
Potholes need immediate repair because if left unattended, they can cause:
- Further damage to the asphalt surface
- Traffic accidents
- Slip-and-fall incidents
- Damage to vehicles
Thus, it does not matter what season it might be or which method you use; potholes need to be filled immediately to maintain a smooth and safe drive and avoid additional costs and liability.