What Causes a Pothole
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Years of under investment in the UK road network has led to an on-going battle come spring to get our roads, car parks and foot ways back to even the minimum standards required.
Therefore due to the limited amount of budget available logically speaking it seems perfectly sensible to save up all your resource for when you expect to have the greatest volume of serious issues. However it's this very approach that is contributing to the problem.
So when is the best time to get out there and carry out repairs?
Potholes are quite a contentious issue right now, with more and more appearing on our roads and pavements every day. Whether it’s down to poor road maintenance, extreme weather or poor repair treatments, it’s important to figure out the best way to tackle them and hopefully stop them from re-appearing in the same place any time soon.
In light of this, we’re taking a look at the pros and cons of pothole repair solutions /methods to see which one comes out on top ensuring your site is not left with dangerous potholes like the one in the image above.
Option 1) Doing nothing
You may be surprised at how many people identify a pothole on their premises, street or walkway and decide to do nothing in the hope that it will miraculously go away - it definitely won’t. An untreated pothole is not only a danger to pedestrians and can cause damage to passing cars, but also it is only going to get worse. What starts out as a small fracture on the surface, will get deeper and bigger if left alone, due to the fact it’s more exposed to the elements. This in turn will cost you more in repairs in the long term, as a smaller pothole is much easier and cheaper to repair.
If you have spotted a pothole, you may look to do a temporary repair, which can be a cost effective and quick pothole fix as it will cause less disruption in areas with heavy traffic, and is better suited to repairing potholes during poor weather conditions as it uses a cold material to fill the hole. However, the problem is that temporary repairs are exactly that, temporary. Thus you will eventually have to apply another temporary repair or look for a permanent repair solution, which will inevitably end up costing you more time and money.
The conventional permanent repair for potholes involves cutting a rectangular or square area around the pothole (called a cold joint) that gives a clean, straight surface for the repair material to adhere to. Before applying the hot bitumen (asphalt), the hole is also cleared of any loose debris and coated with a bituminous sealant. This ensures the hot bitumen solution takes the surface properly, once it has been compacted down to level it out.
This type of solution is understandably much more time consuming and but also far more effective than a temporary repair, however can have much larger cost implications as it requires more manpower, equipment and expertise. Plus, it doesn’t always solve the problem of potholes in a specific area and can still mean a complete resurfacing job.
The cold joint in between the existing and new surfaces is a point of weakness, any water penetrating into the joint will result in failure and ultimately another pothole.
Another option for pothole repair is to use infrared technology, which fuses the old surface with the new far more effectively than the permanent or temporary repair methods. This will mean that pothole repairs are much more effective, as you are left with no cold joints like the conventional repair, making the surface more durable and robust. In addition this durability means it can be a very cost effective pothole repair solution too, as fewer repairs will be needed in the future.
Infrared repair is also the most environmentally friendly and long lasting of all methods as it utilises the existing material leaving very little waste as a result.
It’s pretty clear to see that temporary repairs – although quick – are not sustainable, so isn’t it time a cost effective, robust fix was the go-to method?
It is a sad fact that the appalling state of the UK’s roads is now the worst it has ever been.
Whether quiet country lanes, town and city roads and even some of the busiest motorways, our roads are crumbling away and the biggest problem of all is potholes.
Years of neglect and under funding have clearly contributed hugely to this blight on our roads and highways, coupled with the massive increase in traffic and in particular heavy lorries. But a major part of the pothole problem must lie with the lack of forward planning by central and local governments who must surely have been aware that the road infrastructure would need a running programme of maintenance to keep up with traffic development.
Rather than effect proper, long-lasting repairs to potholes councils seem to have mostly gone for short-term repairs which are cheap but serve only to plug the gap – literally – for a few months before the pothole reappears. All it takes for a pothole to reappear is a short period of heavy rain or severe frost and snow.
Part of the problem appears to be that councils can quite easily absolve their responsibilities for any damage done to vehicles, or for injuries sustained, by claiming that they have checked the condition of a road in accordance with their own criteria. There appears to be no government-set standard for a system of road checking and individual councils can set their own schedules. The result is that millions are paid out in compensation every year to road users who fall foul of potholes. Surely the money could be better spent by adequately maintaining roads in the first place.
Councils spend an average £50 on a small pothole repair so they presumably think this is good value for money. This often involves a simple method whereby a man with a shovel pours a small amount of tarmac into the hole and levels it over. Job done. This is then unfortunately prone to breaking up or sinking in again shortly thereafter because water will make its way underneath the repair.
A much better way is to use infrared tarmac repair. This involves heating the damaged area until it becomes soft and workable. An application of rejuvenating emulsion is applied followed by new tarmac to fill in any voids. The area is then compacted down so that a seamless patch is heat-bonded to the surrounding area. It is the thermal bonding process which ensures no water can leak through the repair.
One of the great advantages of using this technology is that the cost of it is comparable to conventional repairs but a repair done in this way will last much, much longer. The infrared process takes an average 20 minutes or less and is a suitably eco-friendly method as it utilises existing tarmac.
It makes no sense for councils to continue to use outdated, expensive and short-term pothole repair methods when the new technology is in place to provide long-lasting, cost-effective repairs.
Planned maintenance is the only way forward, both to protect budgets in the long term and ensure that our roads are kept to high standards that we rightly should expect.
Renoo.co.uk are a national one-stop, pothole repair shop and specialise in providing long-lasting, cost-effective solutions to pothole damage.
Pothole Maintenace - Potholes have become a hot topic for debate in the UK and can be a very emotive subject.
Another installment from our popular series of pothole related how-to videos from Renoo.co.uk.
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In this series we are also covering:
Quick Pothole Fix
A quick instructional guide on how to make a temporary repair to tarmac surfaces whether they be in roads or footpaths.
Repair a Pothole - The second in a series of pothole related how-to videos from Renoo.co.uk.
Steve Webb from Renoo.co.uk talking about how to complete a temporary, quick-fix pothole repair.
In this series we are also covering:
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Today I’m going to show you how to make a temporary repair to tarmac/asphalt surfaces whether they be in roads or footpaths.
This is very much your typical pothole that you may have on your estate, little bit of a depression. If it’s out of the way not too much of a problem but if it’s around an entrance it could cause an accident, so a temporary solution is ideal in these circumstances. Temporary solutions are just that, they ae not going to last forever but it’s something anyone can do, a quick fix that ensures that the area is made safe until you can get it fixed properly.
I will take you through the tools that you will need to carry out this temporary repair, Firstly you will need a hand punner to compact the lose material, a shovel and broom.
The material’s you will need are temporary cold-lay tarmac which is available from normal DIY stores and comes in 25kg bags or in tubs. Finally you will need bitumen tac-coat which will make a sticky bond below the tarmac so it will stick to the pothole. This is available in normal aerosol cans so real easy to use, today I have a commercial sprayer here because I use quite a bit of it whilst undertaking temporary repairs for customers.
Now I will take you through 4 easy steps to complete this repair
Step 1: Clean the area so you can do the repair nice and easy without anything getting in your way.
Step 2: Tac-coat the area. Tac-coat is a sticky bitumen solution available in aerosol cans form DIY stores. It creates a sticky bond between the temporary tarmac and the existing surface to prevent it from pulling out. You need to get a nice even coverage over the area that you want to apply the temporary tarmac too.
Step 3: Place the temporary tarmac material in the area to be repaired, generally this will come in a plastic bag or tub. As the tarmac hits the surface it will start to move around as it settles, it’s very much a lose material that will allow you to work it around. The only problem you will get with this material is when it’s very cold. So don’t keep it outside in the garage or out where it’s frosty, it’s best just to get what you need from the store and use it more or less straight away.
Using the shovel even out the material to fill the area leaving it slightly proud to allow for compaction. But you don’t want to have too much material and any excess should be removed. Once levelled out make sure you have a nice even surface so it compacts flat. Pull in any lose material from the sides and it will be ready for compaction.
Step 4: Fourth and final step compaction, with your lose material in the ground you need to really compact it to ensure it firms up, makes a strong surface and stays in the position where you want it. Otherwise it’s just going to pull out immediately as soon as someone drives over it and you will have a pothole again.
Starting from the edges, compact all the way round. Using the punner, give it a strong firm compaction and keep going all the way around. The idea of compact is that you’re locking the stones together, as you lock them together they become firmer in the hole and create a proper surface. Keep compacting as you feel it firming up as hard as you can to get a really strong surface. This can be exhausting but keep going to make sure you get the entire area compacted properly.
Finally clean up the edges with a broom and you done.
That took me all of about 10 minutes to complete, all you need to do is make sure you prep the area beforehand, you have the right material and tools and you will be able to make a temporary repair to any tarmac surface. This will even work on potholes in concrete if you need to make a quick temporary repair.
Just remember this is not a permanent solution but it will give you plenty of time to engage a contractor to complete a longer lasting repair.