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3 Reasons to Start Using Natural Asphalt

By September 6, 2022 No Comments

When it comes to road maintenance for public works departments, the repairs are endless: potholes, utility cuts, sidewalk repairs, large cracks, ADA level ups, trench repairs, parking lots, new road construction, etc.

Road repairs are a year-round endeavor that is necessary to keeping communities safe and functioning. One of the primary concerns that public works departments must first address is deciding what type of asphalt to use.

Factors such as budget, product availability, project scope, and weather all lend into what type of asphalt is the best option. For decades, the decision was often split between the two leading forms of asphalt: hot mix and cold patch asphalt.

But organizations that are familiar with asphalt paving know that both have their limitations. The good news is there is a form of asphalt that combines the best of both worlds without all the frustrating limitations and drawbacks of hot and cold mix: Natural Asphalt.

Natural asphalt isn’t just a superior material, using it enables public works departments to adopt a superior process that is revolutionizing road repairs across the nation.

Three Reasons Why Natural Asphalt Advances Your Road Repairs

1.) Traffic-Ready Immediately

cold patch asphalt on road

Many cold patch asphalts must cure before the patch is traffic ready. These curing periods are often vague and misleading, resulting in failed patches that must be repatched time and time again.

When a pothole or road repair threatens traffic safety, one of the most important factors to consider is how quickly the repair is ready for traffic.

Natural asphalt’s unique bonding action doesn’t come from chemical solvents that can take anywhere from a few hours or a few weeks to fully harden. Rather, the high-purity bitumen binder trapped inside the rocks is released on compaction, forming a permanent bond immediately.

This means that if an 18 wheeler, garbage truck, or school bus drives over it one minute later, RockAsphalt© will not rut, shove, or fail. The repair will remain hard, even with the additional pressure of traffic.

This settling process allows bitumen to distribute evenly into the voids as the rocks progressively interlock and displace moisture and air. That’s why there’s no sacrificing speed for longevity with RockAsphalt©.

Unlike with manufactured mixes, where the pressure of additional traffic often causes a failed patch before the material can cure, taking anywhere from a few days to a month to harden fully.

All technical specs aside, what this really means for you and your department is that natural asphalt allows you to make your road repairs quickly and confidently. The last thing you want to do after repairing a pothole is repair it again. Once a repair is done with RockAsphalt©, there’s no coming back a second time.

While hot mix asphalt is certainly a viable option for permanent repairs, the material becomes unworkable outside of a certain range of temperatures. Hot mix also requires heavy machinery and large traffic closures for the asphalt to dry.

The absence of hot mix during the colder months of the year leaves public works departments to depend on manufactured, cold patch asphalts that only offer a temporary solution.

Manufactured asphalts depend on chemical solvents and polymers to control how fast they bind and set up. Speed is clearly important because the faster an asphalt patch sets, the less time crews and traffic waste waiting around. 

Yet patches that harden too quickly have other problems, we’ll discuss more about this later.

2.) All-Weather Reliability

construction workers shoveling hot mix asphalt

Although hot mix asphalt is a permanent pavement option, its weather restrictions force public works departments to rely on temporary, manufactured cold patches to keep up with road repairs when the temperature drops. 

As mentioned before with manufactured asphalts, only the outer surfaces of the rocks are coated in a sticky binder. That’s one reason manufactured cold patches become either unreliable or unworkable outside a narrow range of weather conditions. That’s also why manufactured mixes tend to dry out so quickly. 

Because manufactured mixes depend on fickle chemical reactions to bond, unexpected changes in ambient moisture or temperature often disrupt the stability of the material. This can even occur long after the patch is initially applied. 

Often these “rapid-curing” or “instant” patches trap gaps and voids that easily retain moisture — moisture that during freeze-thaw cycles later causes them to result in a failed patch.

With natural asphalt, the binder is trapped in the interstices of the rocks themselves, not coated on afterwards. That’s one reason weather conditions don’t affect RockAsphalt© the way they do manufactured patches. 

And it’s pressure — not evaporation or any other weather sensitive chemical reaction — that causes RockAsphalt© to bond. 

This property allows RockAsphalt© to maintain a consistent material stability and bond in wet and even sub-zero temperatures. Long story short, that’s why our natural asphalt repair remains workable and reliable in snow, heat, and rain — while manufactured mixes simply don’t. 

With RockAsphalt©, there’s never any need to work with temporary cold patches that must be replaced months later.

And because of our material’s industry-leading durability, there’s no more waiting on warmer weather to start your bigger road repair projects that would require hot mix. 

Paving entire roads with RockAsphalt© can be done easily, quickly, and permanently, even in the dead of winter.

3.) Less Liability and Risk

car driving over rain and snow filled pothole

The unique properties of RockAsphalt© make our material traffic-ready immediately, even in the worst of weather conditions. Our asphalt repair protects organizations from serious liabilities caused by failed patches.

The chemical additives in manufactured mixes often sacrifice sustainability for performance. Generally, the better a manufactured mix is, the more hazardous it is. Road crews are at an especially high risk of health problems from handling these materials on a regular basis.

Many manufactured asphalt patches depend on loopholes like the “storage exemption clause” to get around VOC regulations. That’s also the reason why so many patches aren’t legal in states with high safety standards like Vermont. With manufactured asphalt patches, it’s either performance or sustainability, never both.

Laws regulating VOCs and other hazardous substances have grown stricter over the last few decades, both in the U.S. and around the world. And this trend is likely to continue as scientists learn more about the long-term impact of chemicals on people’s health and the environment.

Those chemical additives also weigh more, forcing you to pay more. However, those prices are nothing compared to the costs that come from the unfortunate results of failed patches. Year after year, accidents caused by failed patches costs organizations millions of dollars.

That’s why forward-thinking decision-makers are choosing natural options like RockAsphalt©. Not only is our patching material 100% VOC free, it also contains none of the other chemical additives that manufactured asphalt patches rely on.

Our naturally-occurring repair material reduces health, environmental, and legal risks — without any compromise in performance.

From failed ADA level ups to life-threatening traffic accidents, using a temporary asphalt patch can result in permanent consequences.

We’re so confident in the permanence of our asphalt repair that it’s backed by our three year guarantee.

Natural Asphalt As An Alternative To Manufactured Mixes

Alternating between hot and cold asphalts has become the norm for a vast majority of public works departments and the prevalence of these manufactured mixes is largely the reason why. 

However, switching between products based on material limitations also creates a vicious cycle of inconsistent road repairs and unsafe streets. 

The deposit we mine in the southwest corner of Uvalde County is one of the largest natural asphalt formations in the world, creating a unique asphalt repair that can’t be replicated. 

That doesn’t mean we can’t try to bring our special material to as many communities as possible as a strong, reliable, and safe alternative to manufactured mixes.

Ensure consistent, safe, year-round road repairs for your community with natural RockAsphalt© today. 

RockAsphalt© prices by the volume of the repairs your job requires because it’s about how many potholes get repaired, not how much tonnage you purchase. If you would like to learn more about how our pricing works, contact us today to discuss our fair volume pricing.

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