Infrared Asphalt Patching – Myths and Facts

Infrared Asphalt Patching – Myths and Facts

Infrared patching of asphalt pavement, often referred to as cold weather patching or seamless cold weather asphalt repair, is a temporary solution to pavement failures and an alternative to cold patch asphalt. The process consists of heating up an area of pavement to make it workable, raking the existing asphalt material (sometimes adding some new) to cover any inconsistencies, and rolling to finish.

Some common uses for infrared patching are:

Creating stamped patterns in existing asphalt for aesthetics.


Elevation adjustments around valve covers and manholes


Repair of frost heaves

Bonding speed bumps to existing asphalt surfaces


A means of repair in a newly installed asphalt overlay where a raveled area can be heated and rolled so as not to create new seams

However, infrared patching is NOT a permanent repair and is NOT a recommended solution to most asphalt failures. Asphalt typically fails due to a combination of vehicle/truck loading, the thickness of the pavement section, poor drainage, and/or poor subgrade conditions. In these conditions, removal and replacement of the failed asphalt is the best solution.

Limitations – Infrared repairs have severely limited success in the following scenarios:

Oxidized and raveled pavement – Not enough binder left in surface to “rejuvenate” and hold together without post-patch raveling


Thin asphalt sections (2” or less such as those in Florida) – Since Infrared is a true surface-only repair, a failed pavement cannot benefit from this type of repair. It should be replaced in the areas of failure to avoid future rework


Exposed potholes – exposed potholes require removal of the pavement surrounding the pothole, compaction of the existing base material, and import of new asphalt to complete the permanent repair. Anything less will deliver a sub-standard product


Areas with gate-loops, areas within 2-ft of wood or metal, parking garages, dumpsters

On surfaces that have been sealed or chip sealed with coal tar or other emulsions


Alligator cracked or fatigue cracked asphalt – These failures are structural in nature and must be addressed by a permanent means of removal and replacement


Areas of heavy loading – Infrared patching adds no new strength and can actually weaken the patch area

Make the right choice when selecting the proper repair type for your asphalt pavement. Make the choice that works. Choose permanent.