A Guide to Asphalt Damage

One of the biggest benefits of choosing asphalt for paved surfaces is the minimal maintenance over the lifetime of the asphalt, but it takes proactive measures to understand what kind of maintenance is needed and when. By regularly inspecting the pavement and identifying asphalt damage, you’ll see a huge return on your investment in asphalt paving.

Block Cracking: This type of pavement cracking appears as squares or circles of cracking in the top layers of the asphalt and can be indicative of poor quality mix when the asphalt was installed. Block cracks typically show up within three years from when the surface was paved, but can be easily repaired and sealed against future cracking.

Corrugations: These asphalt deformities look like lumps and bumps on the surface of the pavement and occur when the asphalt is improperly mixed or when the wrong mix is used for the intended use of the pavement. They show up a few years after installation and require comprehensive, in-depth patch repairs completed by professionals.

Edge Cracking: Cracks that appear along the outer edge of the paved surface are called edge cracks, which usually run parallel to the direction of the road.  Edge cracking happens when the roads see excessive traffic and poor drainage. Working with professional asphalt contractors will ensure that the road is designed and paved to stand up to the elements.

Fatigue/Alligator Cracking: This refers to a concentration of small cracks in a certain area of the asphalt pavement that resembles alligator skin. Heavy load travel, improper drainage, and poor-quality installation can all cause alligator cracking. These cracks are deep and travel through every layer of the asphalt pavement.

Grade Depressions: When areas of the asphalt pavement sink lower than the asphalt around it, this is called grade depression. They are usually obvious after a rain shower as the water will pool in the depressions. These appear over time, and if you notice this damage on your pavement, it’s time to call a contractor to make the repairs.

Linear/Longitudinal Cracking: Also known as transverse cracking, these occur at the seams of asphalt where the strips or sections of pavement meet each other during installation. Improper application, the collection of water, and extreme temperature fluctuations cause linear cracking along these joints. Linear cracks can be fixed and stabilized easily by asphalt professionals.

Pavement Swells: When pavement is installed on surfaces that are affected by changing weather conditions, those surfaces can often swell up and create a “balloon” of asphalt. When the weather subsides and the soil shifts, the asphalt falls and cracks. This damage needs to be repaired immediately to prevent the cracks from worsening.

Potholes: When minor pothole damage is left unchecked, over time it will frequently become a pothole. Cracking in the pavement allows for water to get beneath the surface, and that will cause expansion and contraction of the asphalt. In turn, the pavement collapses inward and forms a pothole.

Rutting: Commonly traveled routes on your asphalt can create rutting from consistent use. Tire tracks will form and indent the asphalt pavement; oftentimes this is a sign that the asphalt layers weren’t installed properly. It’s a fairly simple process to fill in these ruts and even out the surface of the pavement.

Weathering: Due to its sheer exposure to the elements, asphalt pavement withstands a great deal of weather-related wear and tear. Over time, UV rays, extreme weather, and chemicals can break down the asphalt and make it more susceptible to further damage. Regular sealcoating can go a long way towards supporting a barrier between the asphalt and the rest of the world.

Stop minor damage in its tracks by calling your contractor out regularly. An experienced eye can inspect your pavement closely and identify issues, along with working closely with you to determine the best ways to maintain anything they see as a problem. This is especially important after periods of extreme weather and heavy rainfall.

When you use Leritz Busy Bee for asphalt maintenance and repair, you’re going to be working with a commercial asphalt paving team that creates a plan custom-tailored for your property. From a new construction pavement project that helps prevent water damage to maintenance or repair, count on us to help. Smooth and stable pavement will help your property hold its value, offer great curb appeal, and, most importantly, help create a safe parking lot for visitors to drive on. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.