What’s Tack Coat?

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Adhesive coatings, made from bitumen, are used in road construction to help asphalt layers bond together efficiently and withstand constant use. Proper preparation, filling cracks and potholes, and even application are important for success. The underlying bitumen holds the asphalt in place and minimizes the development of cracks and potholes.

Adhesive coatings are thin layers of bituminous product that are used in the construction or resurfacing of roads and highways. This type of product is used to help asphalt layers laid as part of the road construction process bond together more efficiently. As a result, the highway or road is able to withstand constant use for longer periods of time, making it easier to properly maintain the road.

Also known as bitumen, the coating itself is made from asphalt by-products. Bitumen is sticky, making it ideal for use as an adhesive between asphalt layers. Without the presence of this surfacing, a new layer of asphalt laid on an existing road would deteriorate much more quickly, often creating potholes and various conditions that decrease road safety.

To achieve the maximum degree of efficiency with a grip coat, it is important to properly prepare the road section. This means that the existing asphalt layer should be dry and relatively free of dirt and other contaminants. This will help make it easier to apply an even layer of the product and help the tack coating provide a stronger bond with the asphalt being applied over the sticker.

Besides making sure the road is clean and dry, you also need to address issues like existing cracks and potholes. By filling these road surface defects, the process of applying a uniform adhesive layer is made much easier. Some road builders also use a small amount of bitumen in cracks and potholes before filling them with new asphalt, thus helping the blocks bond more effectively with the underlay of asphalt.

The speed or pace of application is also important to the success of an adhesion coat. To achieve the desired uniformity of coating, bitumen should be applied at a steady rate that ensures enough adhesive is deposited, but not so slowly that some areas receive more coating than others. The uneven distribution often breaks the bond between the top and bottom layers of asphalt, causing the roadway to deteriorate much faster than normal.

Once the adhesive is in place, the top layer of asphalt also needs to be carefully applied. Making sure the layer is applied evenly over the adhesive coating helps increase the chances of a solid bond, effectively creating a solid road area that can hold heavy vehicles with relative ease. Applying the top layer of asphalt correctly also helps minimize the chances of more cracks and potholes developing, since the underlying bitumen holds the asphalt in place and doesn’t allow the top layer to shift.

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