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The Pros and Cons of Infrared Asphalt Repair

There are multitudes of reasons why asphalt has remained a popular paving solution for decades: it’s easy to apply, durable, and extremely cost-effective. However, there comes a time in any residential or commercial property owner’s life when asphalt issues arise. Whether it is cracking, potholes, or an exposed utility hole cover, you might need infrared asphalt repair to fix your problem.

What Is Infrared Asphalt Repair?

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the infrared repair process, you’ve probably seen it in action. The popular temporary paving solution is often used in both commercial and residential applications. Infrared asphalt repair involves heating the existing asphalt material until it’s soft. Then, new or recycled asphalt mixes in easily to the softened substance.

It’s become an increasingly popular mode of repairing asphalt because it’s easy, environmentally friendly, and requires minimal downtime after the process is finished. Although it’s not the right solution for every pavement problem, paving professionals choose infrared asphalt repair for longlasting fixes of specific asphalt issues.

Applications of Infrared Asphalt Repair

While infrared asphalt repair is an extremely handy solution, it’s not a catch-all for every pavement problem. There are several ways that the process is used to patch smaller areas of asphalt. Infrared asphalt repair is best used for:

  • Creating seamless overlays of new and existing asphalt
  • Elevation adjustments around grates and utility holes
  • Leveling of the asphalt surface where dips and divots are present
  • Binding speed bumps to existing asphalt surfaces (roads, parking lots, etc.)
  • Creating patterns in the asphalt for aesthetic purposes or rumble strips on highways

Paving professionals choose infrared asphalt repair for patching and temporary fixes of existing asphalt. It’s particularly useful in resurfacing asphalt pavement impacted by drainage issues. Drainage issues typically result in dips and pooling water on paved surfaces, which infrared asphalt repair can fix. It’s also a great tool to use when installing additional asphalt features like speed bumps and rumble strips. Although it can’t be used in every application, it still has immense benefits as a solution in certain circumstances.

The Pros and Cons of Infrared Asphalt Repair

There are many reasons to utilize infrared asphalt repair technology in various applications. The popular paving solution has many advantages, along with a few minor drawbacks. 

Pros of Infrared Asphalt Repair

Infrared asphalt repair is useful in a wide variety of applications. Understand the benefits of infrared asphalt repair and decide if its the right solution for your paving problems:

  • The deep penetrating heat of the infrared rays allows repairs to occur without the risk of separating the asphalt from the aggregate subsurface. 
  • It entirely eliminates the chance of burning or scaling of the existing asphalt’s surface.
  • It allows for easy installation of speed bumps on roads and in parking lots.
  • It prevents moisture damage by creating seamless transitions between new and existing asphalt. This makes it ideal for repairing uneven asphalt surfaces with pooling water.
  • Recycled asphalt can be used in the infrared asphalt repair process, reducing the need for new asphalt materials.
  • It doesn’t require disturbance of existing asphalt surfaces, so there is minimal impact on the earth. 
  • The process is incredibly streamlined, so it requires fewer resources and time to complete the repair. 
  • With fewer resources being used during the infrared repair process, it becomes a much more cost-effective solution than others. 
  • Once the repair is complete, there is minimal downtime required before the road or paved surface can be back in use. Typically, the surface is ready for traffic within 20-30 minutes. 
  • It’s useful in commercial settings to level off grates and utility hole covers or repair small cracks, divots, or surface potholes in roads and parking lots.
  • It is also utilized in residential applications for resurfacing asphalt driveways where pooling water is present.

Cons of Infrared Asphalt Repair

Like any other construction process, infrared asphalt repair does have some drawbacks; however, there are very few. While the process is perfect for patching small surface-level potholes and other minor imperfections, it’s not a catch-all solution for more severe issues. Let’s take a look at some of the limitations of the infrared asphalt repair process:

  • It is not recommended for use on extensive networks of alligator, block, or fatigue cracks.
  • It is only a temporary solution to paving problems; after enough time, any asphalt will experience breakdown and need total replacement.
  • It won’t repair exposed potholes, which require the removal of the surface around the hole itself.
  • It won’t work well in repairing asphalt surfaces that are sealed with certain substances like coal tar. 
  • It’s not recommended for repairing fragile asphalt surfaces. Since infrared asphalt repair is already a surface-only solution, it can cause further damage to degraded subsurfaces.
  • It cannot be used on oxidized or raveled asphalt surfaces because the new asphalt won’t bind with the existing structure.
  • It is truly meant for patching only, so it cannot be applied to large surface areas.

Is Infrared Asphalt Repair Worth It?

While, unfortunately, infrared asphalt repair won’t fix all your problems, it is still a viable solution for specific asphalt issues. It’s an incredibly useful tool to create seamless, aesthetically pleasing asphalt repairs. It also allows you to add items to the surface like speed bumps and rumble strips.

It’s a fantastic option for anyone who wants to be a little bit more environmentally friendly. Infrared asphalt repair allows workers to mix existing asphalt with new or recycled asphalt. Surprisingly, asphalt is frequently recycled, so utilizing this tool enables you to reduce your carbon footprint significantly. 

When well maintained, an asphalt surface should last up to twenty years. Even if you keep your asphalt driveway in the best shape possible, there is still an opportunity for issues to arise if poor drainage is present in the area. Infrared asphalt repair is the perfect solution for drainage issues, like dips or unevenness in the pavement. 

Overall, infrared asphalt repair is an excellent solution for a wide range of problems. Both commercial and residential paved surfaces can benefit from its application. Contact a paving professional to determine if infrared asphalt repair is the right solution for your next paving problem repair or project. 

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