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The Best Method for Pothole Repair: Cold Patch or Hot Mix Asphalt?

With winter nearly a month away, it’s important for local businesses to be prepared for the cold and wet weather before it strikes. A major to-do is repairing potholes, which are caused by expansion and contraction during freeze-thaw cycles. Left untreated, potholes can grow larger and potentially cause additional damage, increasing overall repair costs.

If a pothole has formed in your asphalt parking lot, road or driveway, it will need to be filled in or patched. There are two different types of asphalt patching you can use: cold patch asphalt repairs and hot mix asphalt repairs.

Read on to learn about the pros and cons of each asphalt repair technique so you can decide which method is best for your property. 

Cold Patch Asphalt

Cold mix asphalt is the simplest asphalt type. Requiring no heat for application, it comes already mixed so you can fill potholes and repair parking lots or roads straight from the bag.

Uses for Cold Mixed Asphalt

This pre-mixed asphalt is a band-aid fix for repairs like small cracks and potholes when the outside temperature is too cold for hot mix asphalt. The mixture is flexible enough to be applied in cold weather but too soft for use as a permanent solution. This makes cold patch asphalt products ideal for filling winter potholes until replaced by hot mix asphalt in the spring or for an asphalt parking lot at the end of its natural lifespan that just needs a cheap, quick patch up.

Cold Mix Asphalt: Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros:

  • More affordable solution that requires less effort to install because it’s pre-mixed
  • A quick fix to prevent further damage in colder temperatures when hot mix asphalt cannot be installed

Cons:

  • A small-scale, temporary fix until a more permanent repair with hot asphalt mix can be made; damages will reoccur faster and reform into potholes

Hot Mix Asphalt

Hot mix asphalt is a permanent method for repairing potholes. It is heated and poured at over 300 degrees to fill and seal the excavated hole but cools quickly for fast installation. Requiring the ground to be warm and dry, this mixture is best for filling cracks and potholes in the spring and summer months. 

Uses for Hot Mix Asphalt

Hot mix asphalt is most popular for large-scale paving applications like roads, parking lots and driveways. While this type of asphalt repair costs more upfront, it treats the underlying problems that caused the pothole and prevents more damage from occurring for higher savings in the long run. 

Hot Mix Asphalt: Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros:

  • Weather-resistant and heat-absorbing to melt snow and ice quickly
  • Quick cool down time to reduce road closures despite being heated and poured at over 300 degrees
  • Stronger, more durable grade of paving asphalt used for high traffic roads and highways
  • Superior flexibility over concrete ensures it won’t crack or deteriorate as it shrinks and expands during freeze-thaw cycles, making it ideal for areas with big temperature ranges

Cons:

  • Most expensive of asphalt paving options, but has increased durability and longevity
  • Limited temperature window because the outside temperature must be 40 degrees or higher to install

Choosing Cold Patch vs. Hot Mix Asphalt

Both cold mix and hot mix asphalt bring unique benefits and drawbacks when used to repair potholes. In general, cold patching is best for quick fixes or during winter months, while hot mix asphalt is perfect for permanent repairs or during warmer seasons. A Raleigh Paving expert can help you determine which pothole repair technique is right for your property. Contact Raleigh Paving today for an estimate on your pothole repair needs!

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