Main Terms

Aggregate –Broadly, aggregate is a class of materials used in construction.  The exact aggregate used varies greatly between types of construction jobs, but it often consists of sand, gravel, stone, recycled concrete and sometimes lighter materials like clay and pumice.  Aggregate is a major component of asphalt concrete (used to pave roads, driveways and parking lots) and concrete (used to pave sidewalks and make curbs, barriers and other structures).

Aggregate Base –Crushed stone or stone byproduct that is sized and produced to create a stabile foundation for a driving, walking or building surface.

Apron –The term may also be used to describe an area at the end of a driveway that connects to the road. You may also see a concrete apron at a garage opening or in the space between your curb opening and main sidewalk

Asphalt – Commonly referred to simply as “asphalt” or “blacktop,” asphalt is a mix, consisting of a mineral aggregate and an asphalt binder (also known as bitumen or tar), used to make parking lots and roadways.

Cold Patch – Asphalt mixture used to repair cracks and potholes on less-trafficked roads, so-called “cold” because it bonds following evaporation or compaction without needing to be heated up first. Available at most home improvement stores

Crackfilling/Crack Sealing –The crack filling process is the first line of defense in preventing the degradation of your pavement.  Cracks are filled using a joint sealant that exceeds.

Miling – The process of using a milling machine to remove a section of pavement.  While patching and repair always should be considered first, sometimes pavement conditions decline so much that removal is the best option.  Milling is often used to recycle a road surface, the removed pavement then ground up as aggregate for fresh asphalt.

Patching –Repaving and reclamation aren’t always necessary.  Much of the time, repairing failed pavement with asphalt patching is the way to go.

Sealcoat/Sealcoating –A protective coating applied to pavement that’s invulnerable to destructive elements including weather conditions and ultraviolet rays.  A primary service of U.S. Pavement’s, sealcoating is a proven way to protect your property and prevent further damage and costs down the line.

Other Terms to Know

Alligator Cracking –Dense cracks that form very close together and in high prevalence, so-called because of their resemblance to alligator scales.  Usually caused by inadequate strength and compaction of the base and subgrade, or inadequate drainage.  This problem may be too serious for repair with crack sealant or fill.

Berm –A raised asphalt barrier often used to replace or repair curbs.

Bitumen –asphalt tar

Expansion Joint –A tool connecting two pieces of concrete, designed to absorb vibrations, expansion and contraction.  Commonly found wherever concrete and pavement movement is most prevalent, including sidewalks, buildings or bridges.

Frost Heaving –Used to describe the swelling of soil due to ice building from underneath the ground up to the surface.  Frost heaving can cause cracks and potholes during the winter and spring.

Longitudinal Cracking –Cracks that form down the center of the pavement surface or roadway, parallel to the road.

Overlay/Resurface –The process of paving or “overlaying” another layer of asphalt over existing pavement.  This is one of the most common resurfacing techniques, used to add strength to existing roads and surfaces without having to repave or reclaim, which can be more costly and extreme.  Milling may or may not be required before overlaying, depending on the condition of the road.

Potholes –Bowl-shaped openings up to 10 inches deep, which are created when moisture seeps into the pavement and contracts or expands.  As traffic drives over these weakened areas, it eventually crumbles and breaks away.

Raveling –Loss of pavement or concrete material caused by deterioration, ultraviolet exposure, traffic frequency, weather conditions, material mix design or compact during construction or installation.

Regrading –The process of raising or lowering levels of land.  It’s often performed to flatten and smooth out an existing surface, which is why it is frequently known as leveling.

Rutting –Vertical groove created in the wheel paths of traffic, caused by unstable or insufficient compaction.

Sealant/Sealer –Material used to fill and seal cracks in a asphalt surface to prevent further damage from moisture seeping into the base and subgrade.

Sinkholes – Depressions formed by dissolving subgrade caused by the water circulating through the stone.  As the aggregate dissolves, cavernous spaces form below the pavement, and the surface collapses once the space is too large to support the surface weight.

Subgrade – The lowest layer of pavement, consisting of existing compacted soil underneath the road.

Transverse Cracking –Cracks that cut across the pavement surface roughly perpendicular to the pavement’s center.

Base Course, Asphalt – A lower layer of pavement usually made with large aggregate for added strength intended to be resurfaced with a “top Course” having finer aggregate. This pavement is also sometimes called Binder, Scratch Coat, Base Coat, Leveling Course.

Conduit –A section of pipe normally used to cross under pavement surfaces to carry irrigation or electric for landscape applications. 1″, 2″, 3″ or 4″ inch pipe is most often used for and referred to as “conduit”.

Mortar –A mix of cement, lime,water and sand. Used to fill small joints in the masonry process.