By Marvin Joles III and Chris Giese
We have been fortunate as of late at Blacktop Banter to have recently spent some time creating content about Infrared Asphalt repairs for some of the leading Infrared Equipment Manufacturers in the Asphalt Industry. While I (Marvin) have been around and used infrared before in my work, my counterpart in writing this article, and Operations Director at BB, (Chris) has not. We thought this would be a great opportunity to detail what we know and have learned about the topic.
What is Asphalt Infrared Technology?
Maintaining smooth and durable asphalt surfaces is crucial for safety and aesthetics, whether it’s a road, parking lot, or driveway. Traditional asphalt repair methods such as cut and replace, can be time-consuming, costly, and disruptive. However, asphalt infrared repairs have emerged as a game-changer in areas of the industry. In this article we will explore what asphalt infrared technology is, manufacturers of infrared equipment, some basics of how to perform an asphalt infrared repair, and the cost differences between this method and traditional alternatives.
Asphalt infrared technology is a cutting-edge method that allows for seamless repairs of damaged asphalt surfaces by using infrared rays to heat the existing asphalt, making it workable. This technology is particularly effective for fixing localized damage like potholes, cracks, and surface defects without the need to remove and replace entire sections of asphalt.
Manufacturers of Infrared Equipment
Several reputable manufacturers produce high-quality infrared equipment used in asphalt repair. While not naming specific ones, some manufacturers offer a range of infrared asphalt heaters designed for both small and large-scale repairs. While others specialize in portable and truck-mounted infrared heaters. They key things to look for are consistency in use and durability of the product itself, both of which will help with your efficiency over time.
Performing an Asphalt Infrared Repair
Performing an asphalt infrared repair involves a series of steps to rejuvenate and restore the damaged asphalt surface:
Clean the damaged area: Begin by cleaning the damaged area of debris, loose asphalt, and any other foreign materials. A clean surface ensures better adhesion during the repair process.
Preheat the infrared heater: Turn on the infrared heater and allow it to reach the desired temperature. The exact temperature will vary depending on the type and thickness of the asphalt being repaired.
Position the heater: Place the infrared heater over the damaged area, ensuring that it covers the entire affected section. The heat emitted from the infrared heater softens the existing asphalt.
Rake and level: Use a rake or a similar tool to level and smooth the softened asphalt. This step ensures that the repaired area blends seamlessly with the surrounding asphalt.
Compact and roll: After leveling, use a compactor or roller to compact the repaired area. This step further improves the bond between the new and existing asphalt.
Sometimes the repair can be sealed, or needs to, depending on if it is part of a larger project.
Infrared Repairs vs. Traditional Methods
Now let’s compare asphalt infrared repairs to traditional methods, such as cut and replace:
Speed: Infrared repairs are significantly faster than cut and replace methods. Traditional repairs often involve excavation, removal of old asphalt, and new asphalt installation, which can take days or even weeks. Infrared repairs are typically completed within hours, minimizing downtime and disruptions.
Cost: While the initial investment in infrared equipment can be higher, the overall cost of infrared repairs tends to be lower than traditional methods. This is due to reduced labor and material expenses.
Quality: Infrared repairs create a seamless bond between the old and new asphalt, reducing the likelihood of future damage. Traditional cut and replace methods can lead to joint lines and potential weaknesses in the repaired area.
Environmental Impact: Infrared repairs are more environmentally friendly as they generate less waste and require fewer new materials. Traditional methods produce more waste and can have a higher carbon footprint.
Asphalt infrared technology has impacted the way we repair damaged asphalt surfaces in our industry since the “Old Days”. With its speed, cost-effectiveness, and high-quality results, it offers a superior alternative to traditional methods like cut and replace. Major manufacturers have made this technology accessible to asphalt maintenance and paving professionals worldwide. By embracing asphalt infrared repairs, we can ensure safer, more attractive, and longer-lasting asphalt surfaces while minimizing the environmental impact of repair projects.
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