Overview of Asphalt Issues

asphalt paving

Asphalt problems can range from the minor crack to the serious liability issue. Over time, if left unattended, minor problems can become major concerns for you. In many cases, cracks naturally develop because of the expansion or contraction of the base or subgrade. These cracks can form randomly but usually fit into one or more of the following forms:

Minor Asphalt Issues:

Transverse and Longitudinal cracking

These cracks occur across or down the center of the pavement surface. They are often caused by the asphalt expansion and contraction due to temperature changes or to the normal aging of the asphalt. These cracks begin as “hairline” cracks but will widen with age and lack of proper repair. As these cracks allow water into the pavement base and subgrade, the problem will advance into more serious concerns such as alligatoring.

Reflective cracking

Reflective cracking, or cracks that show through overlayed areas, are caused by overlaying existing pavement without properly repairing the cracks in the original surface. As the moisture and other substances seep into the base and subgrade of the pavement, the original cracks will eventually show through or reflect into the overlayed area if not properly repaired.

Crack Sealing Deficiencies

Crack sealing deficiencies occur when the sealant or fill used to repair cracks is no longer effective or sufficient. This deficiency can develop due to improper installation of sealant or fill as well as more serious underlying base or subgrade issues. This deficiency is usually noticeable due to water or moisture coming to the pavement surface or vegetation growing through the sealant or fill, both due to insufficient fill of the cracks’ depth and now you know it’s time to call asphalt paving professionals.

Deterioration and Raveling

Progressive fading of a black asphalt surface to shades of gray is evidence of oxidation, caused by exposure to the sun and weather conditions such as rain. This causes the binder in the pavement – the glue that holds the asphalt material together – to shrink and the aggregate in the asphalt to start to separate. This condition is termed “raveling”.

asphalt paving

Advanced Asphalt Issues

Alligatoring (a.k.a. Spider Cracks)

Interconnecting cracks that most often occur where simple linear cracks have been neglected and not properly sealed. If left untreated, these areas will continue to deteriorate to form potholes and ultimately the failure of your pavement.


Curbing differentiates a parking area from roadways, sidewalks, and landscaping. Curbing also controls the flow of water from the parking area to the storm drain system, ensuring that the water does not spill over into streets or landscaping. Curbing issues are usually associated with height considerations, including tripping hazards to pedestrians (when curbing is too high) or ineffective curbing (when curbing is too low).


Deterioration that is left untreated leads to potholes, large bowl-shaped openings that can grow up to 10 inches deep. They often develop from alligatored pavement, and if left untreated, are serious liability issues for your employees and customers as well as potentially affecting the pavement’s foundation.


Storm drain systems are used to control rain, melting snow, irrigation, and other fluids that flow off of parking lots. If not functioning properly, drainage issues can lead to puddleing, dangerous ice in the winter, and sinkholes from underground pressure changes.


Over time, channels can be created in wheel paths from consistent traffic and weight of vehicles, which is known as rutting. These deformations along the wheel paths are caused by the consolidation or lateral movement of pavement and subgrade layers. Rutting can be due to compaction from traffic, or because of unstable or insufficient materials, especially in the base.

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