The Infrared Process

Infrared Asphalt Repair is a cutting-edge and environmentally friendly technique that has been developed to address pavement damages, thereby extending the lifespan of asphalt surfaces. The process involves a series of five steps that are completed that guarantees a successful restoration.  (Also, this makes asphalt repairable, which is a marked improvement over concrete.

Step 1: Clean The Area

The first step in an infrared asphalt repair is to clean the repair area well.  This includes removing any asphalt that is loose, all dirt, dust, and leaves.  The time spent on the cleaning is critical to ensure that the heated asphalt will adhere to the new material, the walls of the repair, and to any base layer that is available.  Debris can also slow the heating process and make it uneven.  Once we have finished cleaning, if there are pieces of asphalt that can be recycled, we will place them back into the repair so that they can be heated in the next step.

Step 2: Heat The Existing Asphalt

Next, we position our infrared asphalt heater over the area to be repaired.  We apply heat to the area, which causes the asphalt around the failure (and sometimes in the failure) to "melt" and become malleable.  Our infrared heater emits the perfect wavelength IR to penetrate asphalt.  Sometimes, particularly with older asphalt, the surface becomes nearly white, which would reflect a lot of the infrared.  When we see this, we apply a coat of asphalt rejuvenator to the surface before heating.  This changes the reflectivity of the surface.

Step 3: Verify Temperature

Throughout the heating, we will monitor the temperature of the asphalt.  When the techs determine that the asphalt is malleable to an appropriate depth, they will move on to the next step.  In some cases there is a base layer of asphalt underneath the wear layer of asphalt.  In this case, we will normally heat into the base layer so that our repair will be adhered to that base layer, making the repair even stronger.


Step 4: Rake The Heated Asphalt

After the asphalt has been heated and softened, we rake (lute) it to remove unusable material and to loosen it so that it can accept new virgin material. We then add the virgin material and continue to rake, making certain that new and old are well amalgamated.  While raking, we are also leveling the patch and making certain that we have material all the way to every edge. 

Step 5: Compact The Repair

Once the patch has been luted, we use a compactor to remove any air from the layer, seal the new material to the existing, undisturbed edges, and create a smooth surface.  Our goal is for our patch to be level with the surrounding asphalt.  We do not want to create a new bump by adding too much material or a "birdbath" by adding to little.  When the techs are satisfied that the repair is completely compacted, photos are taken and out job is done.

Picture Frame It

If you watch, you will see that the techs always leave a six inch margin around the repair.  Specifically, this margin is within the heated zone, but on the outside edge.  Imagine looking down on the repair.  You would see cold asphalt, heated asphalt, and then more cold asphalt.  Between the cold and the heated, there will be an area where the temperature changes.  Hot asphalt does not stick to cold asphalt.  This frame is what allows us to have a seamless repair.  We also start our compaction process there and work inward.