Cracks and potholes create a serious hazard on roads and walking surfaces. A hot-mix asphalt patch is the best solution, but this is costly, complex, and time-consuming. If you can’t invest in a hot-mix patch, you can still fix your asphalt with a faster, cheaper solution known as cold-patch asphalt.
Introduction to Cold-Patch Asphalt
Cold-patch asphalt typically contains a mixture of cold aggregates, bitumen emulsion, and water. It may also contain additives, such as polymers. Cold-patch asphalt is especially popular when outdoor temperatures are between zero and 50 F, as it doesn’t have the same restrictions on temperature use that you’ll face with hot asphalt. However, cold-patch asphalt is workable at temperatures as high as 105 F, so you can easily use this option in warmer seasons as well.
Cold-patch asphalt is most commonly used for patching and repairs that require a fast and efficient solution. Hot asphalt takes more time to prepare and place, and many repair jobs simply don’t allow for the complexities of a hot-patch solution. When you have a minor repair with a short turnaround time, cold-patch asphalt is usually the best option.
Factors Affecting Longevity
Cold-patch asphalt isn’t designed to serve as a permanent solution. It may last for a season or two, but it’ll eventually fail, so you should plan accordingly and schedule a more permanent hot-asphalt patch when possible.
Bags of cold-patch asphalt can be stored outside, but they must be protected from the elements. This is no small task in areas of Florida where near-daily rain showers are common. If cold-patch asphalt is exposed to too much moisture, the chemical binders may break down.
Some cold-patch materials will last longer than others. While you’ll find that some manufacturers only recommend their cold-patch asphalt for a season or two, others guarantee up to three years of longevity when the installation is done properly. Cold-patch asphalt is designed to be an all-weather solution that you can use any time of the year in Florida.
In colder climates, you can use cold-patch asphalt at temperatures well below freezing, but products typically recommend that you avoid installing them at temperatures below zero or minus 5 F. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for specific instructions regarding temperature.
Proper installation is important with cold-patch asphalt. However, installing it’s easier to work with than any kind of hot asphalt. Prepare the work area by clearing away any rocks, dirt, or other debris in the hole or crack. You don’t need any heavy equipment to install cold-patch asphalt; simply press it into place with a tamper. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the curing time and keep traffic away from the patch for the recommended period.
Comparisons With Hot-Mix Asphalt
Hot-mix asphalt is a more durable solution. You should always use hot-mix asphalt for new installations and long-term repair solutions. Hot-mix asphalt is extremely durable and can withstand nearly all types of weather. It shrinks and expands with the outdoor temperatures, but it doesn’t break.
In Florida, the biggest drawback to hot-mix asphalt is the installation and curing time. Hot-mix asphalt must be heated to at least 300 F before you can work with it. Once installed, you may need to use a roller or other heavy equipment to smooth the asphalt and fix it in place.
Hot-mix asphalt cools relatively quickly, but you may still need to wait a few hours before walking or driving on it. In comparison, cold-patch asphalt is often ready immediately.
Finally, cold-patch asphalt is much more affordable than hot-mix asphalt. If you’re working on an asphalt repair project with a limited budget, this could be the most important determining point in your final selection. You may need to use a cheaper solution now while saving for a more expensive hot-asphalt patch or resurfacing at a later date.
Tips for Extending Life Span
Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when installing cold-patch asphalt. While most products are similar, there are some differences. Always work within the recommended temperature ranges and allow for the appropriate curing time. If you allow traffic on the patch too soon, it may break down prematurely.
Don’t torch cold-patch asphalt. This technique only breaks down the cold-patch ingredients and may shorten the patch’s life span. In extremely cold climates, it can help to keep the patch warm while it’s curing, but this isn’t an issue in Florida. You can sealcoat over cold-patch asphalt to increase its life span.
When To Consider Cold-Patch Asphalt
Cold-patch asphalt is only appropriate for short-term applications. In extremely cold climates, you might use it to cover a crack or pothole during the winter months when hot-mix asphalt can’t be used. In warmer climates, such as in Florida, cold-patch asphalt is primarily used when hot-mix asphalt is too expensive or time-consuming.
If you’re working on a lot that’ll be resurfaced within the next two years, you may find that it’s cost-prohibitive to use hot-patch asphalt but unreasonable to leave the cracks and holes untended. This situation lends itself perfectly to cold-patching for spot repairs and sealcoating the entire surface. This approach will protect and improve the parking lot for about two years.
You can use cold-patch asphalt for DIY applications if you have the tools and knowledge for this type of project. It may keep your driveway or parking lot usable until you can hire a professional for a hot-asphalt patch. However, you may want to use a professional for a large or complex cold-patch application.
Find the Right Solution for Your Project
Cold-patch asphalt is an affordable and functional solution for short-term asphalt repairs. For expert advice on your specific asphalt patch, feel free to contact our U.S. Pave team at one of our convenient Florida locations. We’re ready to help you select the right service so you can get a workable solution within your timeframe and budget.
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U.S. Pave is a full-service paving maintenance and installation company serving all of Florida with Parking Lot Maintenance, New Asphalt Construction, Asphalt Patching and Repair, Parking Lot Crack Repair, Pothole Repair, Parking Lot Resurfacing (Overlay), Parking Lot Sealcoating or Resealing, Concrete Maintenance, Concrete Flatwork, Concrete Car Stops, Flow line / Curb & Gutter, Trip-hazard Removal/Grinding, Parking Lot Striping, Signage, Bollards, ADA Compliance and Upgrades, Catch Basins, Sweeping and Porter Services.
Whether you’re in need of a small repair or a new construction project, U.S. Pave's dedicated team has you covered.
For more information on our services contact us today at (954) 210-7481.