What Causes Asphalt Damage

Asphalt pavement is a highly durable paving solution for roads, driveways, and parking lots. However, there are elements that can cause damage to asphalt, causing cracks or holes, and making it dangerous to your vehicle. In this blog post, you’ll learn about the different types of asphalt damage, the reasons why asphalt cracks, and why potholes occur in asphalt.

Asphalt Damage Types

It’s important to understand the different ways that asphalt can be damaged in order to understand exactly what damage you’re dealing with. When asphalt is damaged, it can come in the form of potholes, fatigue cracks, blowouts, sinkholes, and root cracks.

Potholes are one of the most common forms of damage that can affect asphalt. This damage occurs when the area beneath the surface of the asphalt has been compromised, not repaired, and completely failed, which eventually leads to a depression in the pavement.

Fatigue cracks are another type of common asphalt damage, and can occur even more frequently than potholes. These cracks often appear in a similar pattern to shattered glass and can occur from water damage. The cracking is a result of traffic and repeated heavy loads on the surface that are improperly distributed, as well as an unstable foundation.

Blowouts are fairly similar to potholes, as they are essentially massive potholes or shallow sinkholes. They happen as a result of the same situation as potholes – a failed foundation under the surface of the paved area.

A sinkhole is possibly one of the worst types of damage that can happen to asphalt pavement. Sinkholes are a result of complete erosion of the subsurface, usually from improper drainage or plumbing leaks, which create a hole in a pavement.

Root cracks are caused by tree roots that grow underneath a paved asphalt surface and appear as winding, raised linear bumps. These bumps can eventually open up to become larger cracks.

Why Does Asphalt Crack 

Now that you have a good idea of the different types of cracks that can happen to asphalt, it’s important to know what exactly causes these cracks in order to help prevent the damage.

The deterioration of asphalt is natural because the materials that make up asphalt break down over time and become affected by elements like rain, sunlight, and chemicals that come into contact with the asphalt.

Over time, and especially without proper maintenance, water penetrates the asphalt and washes out the foundation underneath the surface, causing it to crack, break down, and then collapse.

The sun can affect asphalt through oxidation, which breaks down and dries out the once liquid asphalt and causes raveling and shrinking cracks. This allows water to penetrate beneath the surface, further damaging the asphalt.

Chemicals such as gas and oil can soften the asphalt and cause it to break down more rapidly.

What Cause Potholes in Asphalt 

Potholes, as stated above, are one of the most common forms of damage that can occur to asphalt, and these holes can vary in size and shape. Their main cause is the expansion and contraction of ground water after the water has entered the ground under the pavement. When the water freezes, it expands and this expansion is what causes bending and cracking, weakening the material pavement. When the water melts, the pavement contracts, leaving gaps in the surface. This creates a cycle of gaps being created for water to go under the pavement, freeze and expand, then melt and contract.

Contact Us Today

Here at A. Macchione Brothers offer nearly 40 years of experience as industry-leading asphalt milling experts serving Northern New Jersey and the Northern Bergen County area.

We tackle any damaged pavement areas, including the restoration of parking lots, large driveways, and roadways. Contact us for any project you need, as our crew and machine can help with all aspects of asphalt services. Schedule a free estimate, and discuss your project details with one of our owners today.