During its lifecycle, asphalt pavement may go through three stages: wear, distress and failure. Wear can be mitigated by launching a preventive maintenance program soon after your asphalt pavement is installed. However, distressed pavement typically requires prompt repairs to avoid or postpone a major failure. Distressed asphalt normally shows one or more of the following visual clues that warn you that something is not right with your pavement.
What Is Your Pavement Telling You – Examples
1. Rutting: Rutting is the term asphalt contractors use to describe longitudinal wavy marks in the pavement that follow the path of the traffic. It is an indication that the pavement cannot support the traffic loads to which it is being subjected. Ruts can present a driving hazard as water can pool in them, increasing the possibility of hydroplaning. The vehicle’s direction of travel can also be altered when it encounters them suddenly or at high speed.
2. Different wavy marks that may appear on distressed asphalt are referred to as shoving, wash-boarding or corrugation. These are usually found where vehicles stop and start, such as in the vicinity of traffic lights, stop signs or crosswalks. Wash-boarding is an indication that the mix was not quite right. It might be that the asphalt cement used was not the correct type for the climate, or perhaps excessive amounts of asphalt cement were used. It can also indicate that an insufficient amount of aggregate was added to the mix.
3. Flushing is the term used to describe smooth, shiny patches on asphalt pavement that normally appear in the wheel paths. Because it is the result of too much asphalt cement added to the mix, flushing and wash-boarding may both be present on the same expanse of pavement. Flushing normally appears during the first few years of the pavement’s life, and correction often requires removing the existing asphalt and replacing it.
4. Pavement that shows “rips” or wrinkles has suffered a bond failure. Asphalt pavement and its underlying base must remain “glued” (bonded) together for proper performance. If the bond fails in an area, the pavement will try to “move” with the traffic. Bond failures usually occur during the first year or two of operation. They are commonly the result of an error made in the installation, but they can also be caused by a structural flaw.
5. Alligator cracking is a term used to describe a pattern of damage involving numerous connected cracks that resemble an alligator’s skin. The condition can be caused by water that has penetrated beneath the pavement and destabilized the foundation, insufficient compaction during installation or pavement that is too thin for the loads placed upon it.
6. Water or mud being pumped to the pavement’s surface by traffic is an early warning that potholes will be arriving soon. Mud and water coming from beneath the pavement is an indication that water has found its way below the asphalt and is attacking the foundation. When the foundation has been sufficiently destabilized, the pavement will not have the resiliency to withstand traffic. Potholes will form, and your pavement will also be at risk for alligator cracking
Asphalt contractors may use a variety of techniques to save distressed pavement. One of the most common methods used is the cut-and-patch technique. This involves cutting the pavement to remove the damaged area and then applying a patch of new asphalt. Another method that is highly effective for some issues is to apply another layer of asphalt on top of the existing pavement. This is called an overlay. Depending on the extent and cause of the pavement distress, it may also be necessary to repair the foundation and/or fill and seal cracks.
Asphalt Pavement Solutions has over 30 years of industry experience, providing customers in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware with a wide range of asphalt-related services. We offer parking lot sealcoating, asphalt repair and maintenance services at competitive rates. Our experienced crews can sealcoat your parking lot, stripe it and install your car stops, bollards and traffic signs. From overlays to crack repairs, we consistently provide quality work and outstanding customer service. You can request a free quote by submitting our online form, or you can call us at 1.856.461.1710 or toll-free at 1.800.559.SEAL.