How do Potholes Form in Asphalt

January 29, 2021 10:39 am Published by Leave your thoughts

You may be driving along your street or in a parking lot when you spot a pothole. You’re trying to navigate over it, but it’s already late to realize your tire sinking and crunching over the pothole. While it is almost impossible to avoid potholes completely, knowing their causes will help you mitigate their impact on your asphalt pavement.

Asphalt potholes are drivers’ nightmare, as they can cause quite a bit of damage to your vehicle if they’re deep enough, but why does it seem like potholes magically appear suddenly out of nowhere? What can degrade asphalt to the extent of developing a pothole?

So, how do potholes form?

Friction from vehicle tires triggers asphalt to expand when people drive through it. This can contribute to surface cracks in the pavement over time. Water penetrates those cracks when it rains or snows. The water will slowly degrade the asphalt from below, causing the formation of larger cracks and holes.

When water expands into ice, it pushes out the asphalt, sometimes very violently. The melting and contraction of water will leave nothing in the space the ice once filled. This accelerates the cycle of erosion, sometimes quickly causing big holes to form.

In essence, the process of pothole formation is highlighted below:

  • Cracks, empty spaces, or other vulnerabilities cause water to reach the underlying layers of your asphalt.
  • The water settles
  • The trapped water triggers the pavement’s structure to weaken, creating pressure against the upper layer, causing further cracks and deterioration of the bonds of asphalt material
  • Pavement’s wear and tear, coupled with traffic additionally undermines the asphalt, pulling material from the pavement, leading to pothole formation.

How Do You Prevent Potholes?

It is nearly impossible to avoid all potholes from forming, but a well-designed plan can reduce the likelihood of pothole development. As the asphalt is laid, an experienced asphalt paving contractor will inspect the site and make necessary corrections for adequate drainage. It is also essential to build the correct mix of air pockets within the asphalt to allow passage of water that seeps into a place when it freezes and expands.

Frequent assessment is also vital. Periodically, take a close look at the asphalt. If you see cracks beginning to form, immediately fix them instead of letting them escalate. 

Finally, it will increase the longevity and make it much harder for cracks to transform into potholes by using a high-quality asphalt mix.

Contact Cooper Bros Asphalt Paving

Cooper Bros Asphalt Paving is here to assist with any challenges associated with your asphalt pavement — whether it’s cracks, potholes, or severe damages. Our paving specialists have many years of experience and use the highest level products and technology to offer fast, reliable pothole repairs and asphalt maintenance services. We will not only fix your asphalt pavement, but we can as well offer a wide variety of maintenance services for your parking lot, preventing cracks and potholes from forming on it. Contact us today to learn more!

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This post was written by bwm

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