FAQ: What is the Best Approach to Patching a Pothole?
It’s a fact. As asphalt ages, it naturally deteriorates. This causes common problems—like the formation of potholes. Unfortunately, if a given asphalt surface isn’t properly maintained, these problems will often occur much faster than they should, and property owners will be seeking solutions they otherwise would not need to—like figuring out the best approach to patching a pothole.
Here at Lyons & Hohl Paving, we often hear from both residential and commercial customers who have big questions about their driveways, parking lots, and other paved surfaces. And we’re always here to help. However, we always also try to drive home the point that preventing severe asphalt damage—such as large cracks, potholes, and craters—will always be your best bet in terms of safety and budget-friendliness in the long run, especially in public commercial settings.
First Things First: Preventing Potholes is a Much Better Approach Than Patching
So, what is the best approach to patching a pothole? In short—prevention! Regardless of whether you’re a homeowner with just a small asphalt driveway, or a business owner responsible for acres of asphalt parking lots, your goal should be never to let a pothole form in the first place.
And this means looking for cracks and having them sealed as soon as possible. After all, as a recent article in Asphalt magazine states, “cracks become potholes and potholes become craters.”
Of course, we understand that you don’t always have control over the maintenance your residential asphalt driveway or commercial parking lot received before you took ownership of it. So, don’t feel bad if you have some potholes showing up today. Your mission then is to keep them from becoming craters—the largest and most severe type of asphalt distress, which will nearly always necessitate a full resurfacing or repaving job to fix.
Quick Repair Options for Patching a Pothole
Often, if a pothole is relatively recent or not very deep, you will have the option to fill it in with so-called “throw and go” or “throw and roll” patch material. This filling material can consist of:
- Traditional hot mix asphalt used for most paving processes
- Asphalt emulsion mixes
- Proprietary patch material or “cold mixes” that use modified aggregates and binders
Know that this type of patching is generally considered a temporary fix, but it can be valuable to keep rainwater from quickly making the pothole worse or degrading your asphalt’s base. Improper water infiltration is perhaps the biggest threat to your asphalt surfaces, and you need to do what you can to keep your driveway or parking lot from developing low spots where water will puddle and damage the material.
Additionally, if you notice a pothole during the colder months of the year—when hot mix asphalt cannot typically be applied since it won’t cure properly—you will need to choose one of the alternative patch materials as an “emergency” patching method.
Full-Depth Patching: A Permanent Fix
If you have not been able to prevent multiple potholes from forming—or a single pothole has become a significant crater—your best approach to patching will be one that creates a permanent fix. Only resurfacing the entire area of the potholes—of full-depth patching—can achieve this level of repair.
With full-depth patching, an experienced paving contractor will remove the entire wearing course of your driveway or parking lot—no matter how deep that course may be—in the area of the holes and use their specialized equipment to repave. This may involve replacing some of the sub-grade or base material and improving drainage, as well.
Have More Questions About Fixing Asphalt Problems on Your Property?
When it comes to fixing asphalt problems on your residential, commercial, or industrial property, consulting with an experienced professional paving contractor is always your best option. While you can sometimes take a DIY approach to patching a pothole temporarily, only professional asphalt contractors have the specialized tools and materials needed to provide long-term, permanent repairs.
If you have any questions about your driveway, parking lot, or other paved surfaces within our Central PA service area, get in touch with us at Lyons & Hohl Paving for help today.