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  • Hick's Paving

Common Asphalt Paving Problems and How to Fix Them

Asphalt paving is a durable and cost-effective solution for driveways, parking lots, and roads. However, like any material, asphalt can develop problems over time due to various factors such as weather, traffic load, and improper installation. Identifying and addressing these issues early can extend the lifespan of your asphalt pavement and save on costly repairs.

Here are some common asphalt paving problems and how to fix them.

1. Cracks

Types of Cracks

  • Alligator Cracks: Resembling alligator skin, these interconnected cracks indicate structural failure.

  • Linear Cracks: Long, single cracks often caused by shrinkage or temperature fluctuations.

  • Block Cracks: Rectangular cracks that occur due to poor asphalt mix or temperature cycles.


  • Seal Coating: For minor cracks, applying a seal coat can fill the cracks and prevent water penetration.

  • Crack Filling: Use rubberized asphalt crack filler for deeper cracks to prevent further deterioration.

  • Patching: For extensive cracking, remove the damaged area and apply a new layer of asphalt.

2. Potholes


Potholes form when water infiltrates the pavement, weakening the underlying base and causing the asphalt to collapse under traffic.


  • Cold Patch: For a temporary fix, use a cold asphalt patch to fill the pothole.

  • Hot Mix Asphalt: For a more permanent solution, clean the pothole, apply a tack coat, and fill with hot mix asphalt, compacting it properly.

3. Raveling


Raveling occurs when the asphalt surface deteriorates, causing loose aggregate to appear. This can be due to poor compaction, low-quality materials, or weathering.


  • Seal Coating: Apply a seal coat to bind the surface and prevent further raveling.

  • Overlay: For severe raveling, remove the top layer of asphalt and apply a new overlay.

4. Depressions and Rutting


Depressions and rutting are low spots in the pavement that can collect water and are often caused by heavy traffic or poor base preparation.


  • Leveling: Apply a leveling course of asphalt to even out the surface.

  • Full-Depth Reclamation: For significant depressions, remove the affected area and reconstruct the base before repaving.

5. Edge Cracking


Edge cracking occurs along the outer edges of the pavement and is usually due to insufficient support at the edges, heavy traffic, or lack of proper drainage.


  • Crack Sealing: Seal the cracks to prevent water from entering and causing further damage.

  • Edge Strengthening: Add support to the edges with gravel or concrete curbs and improve drainage to prevent water accumulation.

6. Water Pooling


Water pooling or "bird baths" occur when there are low spots on the asphalt surface that allow water to collect.


  • Leveling: Fill the low spots with a leveling course of asphalt.

  • Improved Drainage: Ensure proper drainage by installing additional drains or regrading the area.

7. Fading and Oxidation


Fading and oxidation are caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight and air, which can make the asphalt brittle and more susceptible to cracking.


  • Seal Coating: Apply a seal coat to protect the asphalt from UV rays and oxidation.

  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule regular seal coating every 3-5 years to maintain the asphalt’s integrity.

8. Shoving


Shoving is the horizontal displacement of asphalt, typically seen at intersections or areas with braking and turning traffic. It can be caused by weak subgrade, improper mix, or lack of compaction.


  • Full-Depth Patching: Remove the affected area and replace it with a properly compacted and mixed asphalt layer.

  • Subgrade Stabilization: Strengthen the subgrade with additional materials before repaving.

Regular maintenance and prompt repair of asphalt paving issues are essential to prolong the life of your pavement and ensure safety. By understanding these common problems and their solutions, you can take proactive measures to keep your asphalt surfaces in top condition. Whether it’s a minor crack or a major pothole, addressing these issues promptly can save you time and money in the long run. If you're unsure about how to handle a particular problem, consulting with a professional asphalt contractor can provide you with the best course of action.


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