Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Potholes

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Perhaps the most easily recognised type of asphalt failure, potholes are a perpetual thorn in the side of local governments, homeowners, and businesses alike. In this article, Asphalt Contractors provide a run down of some of the most common questions that our clients ask about potholes.

What causes potholes?

There are three key factors which contribute to the formation of potholes:

Insufficient drainage: If water is left to pool in the underlying soil structure, it weakens the foundations of the pavement, making it more vulnerable to damage from heavy traffic.

Untreated cracking: All asphalt surfaces deteriorate over time, and when this happens, cracks occur. If the cracking is not properly tended to and spreads (a phenomenon known as crocodile cracking) it can come away in chunks and potholes form.

Pavement that is too thin: Asphalt which is laid too thin doesn’t have the structural integrity to withstand natural shifts in the underlying soil due to erosion and geological movements.

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How are potholes fixed?

There are two methods for repairing potholes, one is temporary and one is semi permanent. The temporary fix involves filling the pothole with hot or cold mix asphalt, compacting it with a vehicle, and then putting a ‘crown’ of over the compacted patch. This method has varying degrees of success and can ultimately cost more to repair in the long term but it is often favoured for it’s speed, initial cost efficiency, and the fact that it can be implemented in all weather conditions.

The semi permanent fix can only be done in warm, dry weather conditions and is more labour intensive, but it tends to provide a much more durable result. It involves clearing out debris and water from the pothole, making a clean cut around the edges, placing the patch material into the cut then vibrating and compacting it into place.

I filled in a pothole a few days ago and it just came back, what’s happening?

There could be a number of reasons why your attempt to patch a pothole failed.

  • You filled in the pothole in cold or wet conditions and the asphalt did not adhere properly to the surrounding pavement.
  • You used cold mix asphalt which is not as effective or durable as hot asphalt
  • You didn’t address an underlying cause of the pothole such as water migration beneath the pavement.

Custom Asphalt specialise in asphalt paving services including maintenance and repair. To learn more about our capabilities call 0418 137 943.