We drive and walk on asphalt every day. Most of the time, we don’t even notice it – or do we? Depending on where you live, asphalt streets can be in constant and various stages of disrepair. This is especially true in states like New Jersey, where snow and ice dominate the winter months. These extreme temperature changes and precipitation events, along with steady pressure from traffic, gradually wear down asphalt. Cracks and potholes develop. We see the road crews all around us, doing their best to stay on top of the situation. But there’s an awful lot of asphalt to be repaired every spring, and in major urban areas, asphalt repair is ongoing throughout the whole summer.

How asphalt is repaired depends on a couple of key variables. For instance, how big is the hole? How deep is it? If there are cracks, what pattern are they in? Could there be underlying problems in the base or sub-base layers?

Essentially, asphalt professionals are trying to strip away (or “excavate”) the material that has developed structural problems and is wearing away. A patch will then be installed which (hopefully) creates a strong seam with the new edges of the hole. In virtually every professional asphalt repair, there is some degree of excavation where in the bad material is stripped away and the structure of the problem is addressed.

In certain cases where areas of the road are severely compromised, the excavation may be quite involved, and may extend down into the base layers of the asphalt. This allows the crew to address underlying structural issues – it is essentially a “deeper” repair that is closer to actually building new asphalt road. This is why, in many areas, you’ll be driving on an aging concrete road and suddenly come to a fresh, dark, new patch that extends for twenty or thirty feet. There must have been a serious problem in that area of the road, and a good amount of excavation took place in order to facilitate a proper repair.

However, not all asphalt repairs are this meticulous or organized. There are situations where budgets and time constraints simply do now allow for every trouble spot to be properly repaired using the best professional methods and materials. This is where shoveling dry asphalt into various cracks and holes will come into play. It’s a common site in cities across the country, and it’s a remarkably fast way to alleviate the situation. These repairs will, of course, not result in a permanent solution. It won’t be long before that dry mixture erodes away – fundamentally you haven’t eliminated the structural weakness. You’ve only applied temporary filler to buy yourself some time.

The right equipment and expertise is critical when it comes to asphalt repairs. Reputable pros have invested in modern trucks and tools, and stayed current in their technology and methods. These are important attributes for any asphalt specialist you may work with, whether you’re organizing a big commercial paving project or just need some repair work on your asphalt driveway.