One of the more recent entries into this high-performance repair market is New Life Surface Solutions, which markets a two-component, cold-pour product that is water based and is mixed on site. Steve Arnold, New Life Surface Solutions manager, says the New Life product is sold in 5-gallon buckets which contain a bag of aggregate with a set-up catalyst and a bladder containing the emulsion. Each bucket can fill a 950-cubic-inch pothole.
After the pothole is swept clean, remove any ice, snow, or water using a heat lance or torch. The contractor then pours the liquid into the bucket, adds the aggregate/catalyst mix, stirs it up, and pours it into the pothole. Any large potholes need to be backfilled first with pieces of broken pavement, stone, or p-gravel. Arnold says the product sets up in five minutes and can be driven on in 10 minutes. A winter mix with an extra catalyst is also available.
"If the pothole requires more then one pail, you just pour in the entire pail, then pour another pail right over it even though the first pail has set up or is setting up," Arnold says. "It will bond to itself great. Even if it took 10 pails you could pull it out after it had set up and it would come out as one piece."
Arnold says that contractors can even pour the mix in a pothole that contains some water and the mix will displace the water and still set up. That's a claim made by most if not all high-performance cold mix producers, but Groh and Loyed Woodland, founder of The Pothole Medic, recommend cleaning and drying the pothole first.
"The average pothole is never properly prepared, which is why most fail," Woodland says. "These new pothole patching materials are a helluva material and they do a great job if given half the chance. But they're usually not given the chance."
Groh agrees. "High-performance temporary patching materials will outperform a standard cold mix material, but that doesn't negate the need for proper preparation of the pothole," Groh says.
Infrared is effective
Among the most popular recent advances in pothole repair is use of infrared technology, which heats the pavement to the point where it is workable. New asphalt and a rejuvenator are added by the contractor and the heated pavement is raked to grade and compacted, resulting in a sealed surface.
"Use of infrared in pothole repair is outstanding because infrared gives you a nice dry area," Groh says. "It gets rid of any excess moisture, and any failure of pothole repair is because moisture is present. Using infrared technology according to manufacturer's recommendations is an excellent way to approach pothole repair."
Bob Kieswetter, owner of Heat Design Equipment, Kitchener, Ontario, says the infrared process can be used for pothole repair but that the infrared process is best used to repair pavement before potholes are formed.
"Infrared repair is primarily a maintenance process," Kieswetter says. "It's ideal for repairing cracks before the pothole stage."
But he says the advantage of using infrared to repair potholes is the process does create a bond and softens the areas around the pothole, allowing the contractor to create a good bond between the stable pavement and the repaired pavement. He says infrared repair also provides a sealed joint to prevent water penetration.
"It helps make the repair strong and helps make it last," Kieswetter says.
Groh says the size of the infrared equipment controls the area of repair, and that needs to be kept in mind when deciding to use infrared repair.
"Often you don't extend the repair to a stable area because the infrared unit isn't big enough or due to cost considerations of multiple applications," Groh says.
But most infrared equipment manufacturers now offer not only a variety of different-sized equipment but also units that can be configured to fit a variety of different size and different shaped repairs.
Heat Design Equipment, for example, markets a 6 foot x 12 foot production machine that can repair between 1,000 square feet and 1,500 square feet of pavement a day utilizing between 2 and 3 tons of new hot mix. The company also offers a 4 foot x 3 foot unit that can be reconfigured in a variety of configurations including one measuring 8 feet x 18 inches.
Groh stresses that infrared repair is effective for a variety of pavement repairs but is not a substitute for restoration patching because the infrared process doesn't address deficiencies in the aggregate base and or the subgrade.