Different Asphalt Problems and Their Causes

asphalt crack

If you are planning to have a new asphalt driveway installed in your home, then it is essential that you know the different problems that you may encounter once you start using your new pavement. In this article, you will know about the most common asphalt problems and the causes of each problem. Knowing what might cause such problem will help you prevent or minimize its occurrence. As a responsible owner, you also have to protect your investment just like any other.

Most Common Asphalt Problems

  • Potholes. Potholes are small and look like little bowls on your asphalt surface. These potholes are the result of the asphalt materials that has gone missing. This can occur especially if you have water infiltration to the base of the asphalt, or if a poor asphalt material has been used to construct your pavement. Poor maintenance and a weak pavement structure can also cause this.
  • Depressions. Asphalt depressions can be considered as a younger version of potholes. You will notice a depression, especially after a rainy day. If you notice water being held on a surface of your asphalt where it normally does not happen, then you have asphalt depression. Depressions can occur because of poor construction or when the pavement structure has settled below.
  • Raveling. If you notice the aggregate base (stone) separating from the surface of your asphalt, then you are observing raveling. This problem will be very noticeable as the separation of stone from the asphalt surface gives it a rough texture. The cause of this problem could be any of the following: hardening, inferior asphalt mix, or improper compaction of the asphalt. If your driveway has been constructed under bad weather conditions, this can also impact its solidity and will result to raveling.
  • Crescent-Shaped Cracking. One type of pavement cracking that you may notice on the asphalt surface is a crescent-shaped cracking. This type of cracking is also known as slippage cracking. This is seen as crescent shaped cracks that look like tears on its surface. The usual cause of such cracking is the use of poor bonding materials underneath the surface.
  • Alligator Cracking. This cracking can be easily recognized as it looks like an alligator skin. This can happen in areas where the load of materials being transported is greater than what the pavement can handle. In addition, this can also occur when oxidation has set in. Oxidation can make the asphalt surface lose its bendability or flexibility.
  • Shrinkage Cracking. This type of cracking is also known as block cracking. This can be seen like alligator cracks only in bigger forms. However, this type cracking is not caused by heavy loads on the surface of the asphalt. Rather, it is caused by shrinkage (as the name suggests). This happens because the asphalt loses its ability to bind, expand, or adapt immediately to different temperature changes.
  • Reflective Cracking. If you just had your original pavement resurfaced and you see the same cracking on the same surface of the newly resurfaced pavement, then you are observing the so-called reflective cracking. This means that the cracks on the original surface have continued on the new one.
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