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Winter vs. Summer: When to apply a blacktop patch


Road crews and homeowners share a problem. It’s about repairing asphalt applying a a blacktop patch when the pothole happens – not when the weather is nice.

The astute way to maintain anything – be it buildings, swimming pools, the human body, and pavement – is to fix things when they are broken. But that last category, pavement, has a unique problem in that potholes most often occur in the dead of winter, the season of the year when hot asphalt plants are closed. It’s hard to apply a blacktop patch when there is no hot asphalt available.

A little backstory explains why this is: For standard asphalt to be laid – this applies to residential blacktop driveways as much as commercial parking lots and superhighways – the stone aggregate mix with bitumen has to be hot, in the range of 220ºF to 290ºF. And because it cools on the trip between the asphalt plant and where it is installed, it really needs to go out the door at something higher (275ºF to 300ºF).

In four-season climates, it is basically impossible for hot asphalt plants to operate efficiently in winter because the cooling off of the material happens too quickly, even in heated trucks. The ground itself is frozen or very cold and very damp, further complicating things.


Apply a blacktop patch in highway Applying a blacktop patch on a highway
Apply a blacktop patch in driveway Applying a blacktop patch in a driveway

Fix pavement in winter as best you can

But winter is when the assaults of precipitation, along with freeze-thaw cycles, are hardest on pavement. It’s when the most potholes form – and when motorists are most affected by them. So what does a department of transportation do when they need a blacktop patch? How does the responsible homeowner repair potholes before a family member or guest trips and falls?

The most common method is to use a cold-mix version of asphalt. This might fill a blacktop pothole for a few weeks or even months, although it’s far from a permanent fix (it’s sometimes referred to as “throw and go,” meaning it is shoveled into the pothole without a lot of effort).

Those road maintenance crews have to return to those same potholes when temperatures warm up to use a hot-from-the-plant asphalt blacktop mix. Doubling the work isn’t exactly helpful on strained maintenance budgets.

The blacktop patch for every month of the year

The one option to this is the polymer-modified cold asphalt mix from EZ Street. Designed to create a permanent blacktop patch, it can be applied in the dead of winter, even if there is water standing in the pothole. It forms a permanent bond with the surrounding pavement that negates the need for the second, warm weather application. It can also be applied in spring, summer, and fall.

EZ Street takes the seasonality out of how and when you repair pavement problems. So just as an orthopedic surgeon would repair a broken leg shortly after the ski accident, or a homeowner would fix a leaky swimming pool as soon as possible, EZ Street enables municipalities as well as homeowners the opportunity to repair blacktop pavement as soon as they see the first pothole.