The question of how potholes are repaired is probably not going to pop up on one of those cable TV specials anytime soon. It’s not exactly the kind of topic that fascinates people. But when you’re driving on a road full of potholes, or when these unsightly eyesores begin to form on your own property, pothole repair becomes a very interesting subject indeed. As your tires crash over another pothole, and you think about the new shocks and tires you’re eventually going to have to buy, you wonder why “they” don’t simply fix those potholes once and for all. How hard can it be?

And of course, if there are potholes on your own property, you’re more likely to actually follow up and seek answers to these questions. You’ll probably find a local contractor who offers to do the repair work, and you’ll collect a bid or two, and you’ll wonder much money that contractor is actually making. You might even begin to wonder: Should I think about doing this repair myself? After all, it might save cash at a time when savings are always good to have.

How a pothole is actually repaired will depend on a number of factors, including: the conditions around the pothole (traffic, weather, time of year), and the skill of the workers conducting the repair. In a pinch, city work crews will patch a pothole with cold asphalt for an immediate result, until such time as they can patch the hole properly.

What would a “proper” repair look like? The area would be carefully cleaned, the edges of the pothole would be smoothed out and re-formed. Depending on how deep the problem goes, parts of the base or sub-base layers may be reconstructed. Then hot asphalt is poured and smoothed over to finish the patch and make it level with the surrounding pavement.

Another method of pothole repair that we’re seeing more of now is the spray injection. City crews and private contractors are able to use special attachments to fill holes quickly and efficiently with hot asphalt — although at present, this is seen as more of a temporary solution. Professionally rendered patches are still going to provide the most structurally sound and long-lasting repair. There may come a day when asphalt no longer needs to be patched because the technology is so advanced — but for now, skilled and experienced crews are the only ones who can patch asphalt and concrete properly, in a way that’s both functional and long-lasting.

Is there a good specialist in your area?

Asphalt and concrete repair are professional trades that require a lot of training and experience. Not every contractor you’ll contractor you come across will be 100% legitimate, and even the ones that are have varying degrees of quality. When you find a really good one, though, you’ll see the difference in the repairs themselves. In some cases, you’ll get better advice that takes you in a different direction, such as milling your existing surface (due to severe structural faults, for example) and starting over. Either way, consulting a reputable company about your potholes and other asphalt problems will give you the insight you need to be make the most financially and structurally sound decision.