Infrared Asphalt Repair Provides Quality

September 28, 2010

Infrared asphalt repair technology can provide high-quality asphalt repair for:

  • Potholes
  • Utility cuts and trenches
  • High spots
  • Pavement seams
  • Alligator cracking
  • Failed repairs
  • Handicapped ramps
  • Manhole covers

Virtually any defect not caused by problems with the subbase can be repaired more permanently with the infrared restoration process. The first step is to make sure the area is swept clean. Then the repair is marked out at least 6 inches beyond the damage. The infrared heater on the system is turned on, and the unit is lowered over the area to be repaired. The crew must wait approximately 8 minutes to allow the infrared to soften the asphalt to a depth of 2 inches to 3 inches without damaging the surface.

While the infrared is working, the crew unloads the roller and other tools. After the 8 minutes are up, the asphalt is checked and the infrared heater is removed. The pavement is then scarified, using a steel asphalt rake, taking care to remove any existing seam or joint. A rejuvenator is sprayed over the existing asphalt to re-introduce light oils that might have oxidized out over time. Fresh asphalt is discharged from the reclaimer. The new asphalt mix is then added to the repair. The patch is raked smooth and leveled.

As soon as the raker is finished, the patch is ready to be rolled. It is important to roll the edges of the patch first. This fuses the fresh asphalt to the heated but untouched surrounding surface and is a key to its seamless repair. Because only 2 inches to 3 inches of the existing pavement have been disturbed, further compaction of the asphalt after rolling it will be negligible.

Except for the difference in color, it is almost impossible to see where the repair ends and the existing surface begins. The infrared process works equally well on larger areas. The only difference in the process is that while one area is being raked, an adjoining area is being heated. This continues until the entire repair is completed.

Moonlight Sweeping, Inc., of Canton Township, MI, uses Kasi Infrared asphalt repair equipment, which is designed to cause the least possible disruption to traffic. The benefits of infrared restoration are:

  • Time. Repairs are made in a fraction of the time of typical remove-and replace repairs. A typical 5-foot by 7-foot repair takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The road can be re-opened to traffic immediately.
  • Quality. The thermal bonding of the patch to the surrounding surface makes the repair an integral part of the pavement. No cold seam exists for water to infiltrate and cause joint failure. This also eliminates the need for tack coating the edges.
  • Environment. Existing asphalt is reused, leaving little or no waste material. This also means less handling and disposal costs.
  • Labor. The typical infrared crew has only two or three workers.
  • Cost. Infrared restorations are installed at prices competitive with conventional repairs.

Moonlight Sweeping, Inc. has been using the Kasi Infrared asphalt repair system for approximately 3-1/2 years. The company works throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

"We've had very good feedback from our clients," Bradford Shelle, construction manager for Moonlight Sweeping, Inc., said. "This is something that we've been trying to make people aware of over the last couple of years. A lot of people are not familiar with this system," Shelle said.

During the construction season, Moonlight Sweeping's one truck is working between 25 and 40 hours per week. Moonlight Sweeping, Inc. recently purchased a second truck.

"The biggest advantage of this system is that you're getting a repair without any of the negative aspects of saw cutting and removing. The repairs are quicker, and you're able to use less material for the repair. You don't have any over-cutting or areas for water to infiltrate the repair, because it is a seamless repair," Shelle said.

Shelle explained that in an area where the remove-and-replace method might use approximately 700 to 1,000 pounds of asphalt, only one or two wheelbarrows of asphalt might be used.