Throughout the winter, Freeze-thaw cycles can damage asphalt so when the weather warms up, you want to assess the state of your asphalt surfaces. This winter, in particular, was extremely hard on asphalt with many freeze-thaw cycles.  What looked like perfectly fine asphalt last fall could now be riddled with potholes. At Bituminous Roadways, our team receives numerous calls from customers asking to have potholes repaired, but just filling the hole in with hot mix asphalt may not always be the best solution.

Realistically, there are three options for pothole repair: pothole patching, mill patching, and dig-out patching. Here is a detailed explanation of each option.

Pothole Patching

The first option, pothole patching, is very short-term. It consists of sending a patching crew to a site with a set amount of asphalt that they shovel into the holes and compact with a small roller.

These pothole repairs are made to be quick and inexpensive but are only expected to about a year. They generally degrade quickly and don’t address the underlying issue. The area around the pothole patch will continue to degrade until a larger scale patch is required. This technique is generally used if there is a plan to perform extensive work within a couple of years.

When Is Pothole Patching The Solution?

If you don’t have money in your budget to make more lasting repairs, pothole patching may be the best bet. However, if you want your asphalt to last, you should consider saving and planning for a more effective pothole solution. For more tips, check out this blog on budgeting for asphalt repair.

Mill Patching

The second option, mill patching, can be used if the asphalt parking lot only has surficial damage. If there is asphalt at the bottom of the holes, crews can mill two inches off the surface surrounding the pothole and replace the area with compacted asphalt. This pothole repair option creates smooth pavement that will hold longer than a pothole patch.

The downside to this option is reflective cracking may occur after freeze and thaw cycles. Reflective cracking is when the cracks in the bottom of the patch show through it, which could result in a similar situation as when the pothole started.

When Is Mill Patching The Solution?

Mill patching is generally preferable to pothole patching because it is a longer lasting fix. While iit is a slightly more involved process, it’s worth spending a bit more money to avoid even worse damage down the line.

However, if the pothole is too deep, mill patching is not the best repair option. In this case, you’ll want to consider dig-out patching.

Dig-Out Patching

The final and most extensive option for pothole repair is a dig-out patch. Dig-out patching entails removing all the asphalt at a 6’x6’ minimum around the hole. Then, the aggregate base is re-graded, and the area is patched with approximately four inches of asphalt. The asphalt is then compacted with a roller.

This option is the best long-term fix for pothole repair, because it creates a structurally stable solution.

When Is Dig-Out Patching The Solution?

Dig-out patching is the only viable solution for a pothole when it is too deep for a mill patch. It’s also important to note that dig-out patching is the most permanent solution. So, if you want your asphalt to have a longer lifespan, dig-out patching is likely worth it.

Dig out patching

Overview Of Pothole Repair Methods

The overall timeline for asphalt patching goes like this from short-term to long term: pothole patch, mill patch, dig-out patch. Keeping future maintenance plans in mind when deciding on what type of maintenance work should currently be done is important.

If you have questions about which type of pothole repair is right for your asphalt needs, contact Bituminous Roadways.

Contact Bituminous Roadways to Fix Your Potholes

Not sure which asphalt maintenance technique is best for your asphalt? Call on the experts at Bituminous Roadways, Inc! Our estimators are available to assess the site and recommend different options based on your budget, current needs, and long-term maintenance goals.

Contact us at 651-686-7001 or via the web by completing a Request a Consultation form.