The Challenges of Asphalt Repair

Posted by Reinhard Stoeriko-Pasker - 21 November, 2022

Everyone has experienced this: potholes, delamination and cracks in asphalt roads. The consequences are also well known: speed restrictions and closures for repair causing detours and traffic jams. Since at least 75% of all solid roads in Europe have an asphalt surfacing layer, repairing asphalt is a daily exercise everywhere.

The costs involved in asphalt repair are huge. For instance, the total cost to maintain the 680,000 kilometres of roads in Germany was estimated at 11.5 billion euros per year in 2015 [1]. In addition to these costs, there are related impacts such as delays, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise arising from the traffic jams caused by the works.

One of the biggest challenges faced by road authorities is that potholes cause disruption and damage – but so does fixing them. Let's have a look at the common refurbishment solutions:

"Classic" Asphalt Repair

Traditional asphalt repair requires special trucks to deliver hot asphalt to the repair area. The hot material must then be quickly laid and mechanically compacted using heavy machinery, as shown below.

Road repair Compacting asphalt

© T. Voekler

© Hornet Driver

This procedure usually leads to good and durable repairs but requires significant resources in terms of labour, machine equipment and cost.

What about small-scale repairs?

One "quick & dirty" method commonly used, is "cold asphalt" – a mix of asphalt granules and gravel that is simply put into the pothole and then mechanically compacted:



© strabau GmbH Meißen


The advantages of this repair method is ease of application and lower disruption since vehicles can drive over the repair as soon as it has been made since compaction is the best "curing" for this material.

However, there is a big drawback…durability. Cold asphalt is usually only a temporary repair, to prevent damage to vehicles or accidents until a permanent repair can be made. Typically, such cold asphalt repairs will not survive their first winter. The weak point is the joint between the existing material and the repair material; water will seep in, freeze-thaw action will widen the joint to a crack and in time a pothole will form again.

So, the challenge is: how can we make asphalt repairs fast and easy, but still durable?

At Master Builders Solutions we are concrete experts and had to learn about asphalt first, as it is really different from concrete - it is "softer", it is not reinforced and the thermal behaviour is different; just to name a few facts. This is why standard concrete repair solutions for asphalt will not provide lasting results. By understanding asphalt and how it behaves, we were able to use our expertise in repair mortars to solve the challenge of asphalt repair.

Introducing the next generation of Asphalt Repair

Our innovative solution is MasterEmaco T 1600, a new hybrid mortar that combines the ease of application we have achieved with our cement-based mortars with full compatibility with asphalt substrates. The repair procedure is very simple: mix the two components of the product, pour it into the prepared repair area, level the surface and you are done!

IMG_5445 (2)-1


IMG_5450 (2)-1-1


Due to its ultra-fast curing properties, the repaired area can be re-opened to traffic within 30 to 60 Minutes (at +20 °C). No compaction machinery or other large equipment is required. A simple, powerful hand mixer is sufficient.

A durable and sustainable solution

The durability of repairs carried out using MasterEmaco T 1600 has been proven in numerous real-life trials as well as in tough lab testing. Since we want to foster sustainable solutions, MasterEmaco T 1600 is free of solvents, asphalt and bitumen. Our hybrid system consists of a special fibre-reinforced mineral binder mixed with a water-based polymer dispersion. This combination bonds perfectly to asphalt and has similar physical properties to asphalt and its volume-stable, non-shrink behaviour guarantees that the repair area will remain well connected to the asphalt.

Discover more about MasterEmaco T 1600 here:




Topics: asphalt, repair, MasterEmaco

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