How to Get Rid of Potholes
Asphalt pavement covers thousands of square miles in the U.S., and all that pavement needs proper maintenance to keep citizens, homeowners, and business owners safe. One of the most common paving issues, especially in asphalt, is potholes. Potholes can roll ankles, damage your vehicle suspension, destroy your tires, degrade your infrastructure, and are unattractive to look at.
If you have a pothole in your driveway or parking lot, you need a thorough repair to avoid future problems, but what if you don’t know where to start or what you need to do? The thawing and freezing cycles are one of the biggest reasons for potholes, so it’s hard to make a permanent fix in the middle of December. Asphalt needs warm temperatures to properly cure. But don’t worry, there are temporary measures and permanent solutions you can take to fix those troublesome potholes once the temperatures start to rise.
How Do Potholes Form?
Potholes form when the pavement cannot sustain the weight and pressure being put on it. Potholes are typically the result of a long process involving water damage and lack of maintenance.
Potholes occur when water seeps into cracks in the pavement, eroding the ground beneath. Due to temperature drops, the ground expands, pushing the pavement up. When the temperature increases and the ground returns to its normal level, the pavement remains raised, leading to a gap between the pavement and the ground. When a car drives over the gap, the pavement cracks and a pothole forms.
Not only do potholes reflect poorly on your property, but they can cause accidents, damages, and open you up to legal issues. Pedestrians can trip and fall, drivers may swerve to avoid them, vehicles can sustain damage, and motorcyclists could be injured. In each of these cases, the property or business owner could be held liable. Similarly, if you are a homeowner, a potholed-filled driveway can cause safety hazards, car damage, and decrease the property value and appearance of your home.
Let’s learn why potholes are a problem, the benefits of pothole repairs, and the process for repairing potholes in your asphalt driveway or parking lot.
Why Are Potholes a Problem?
Potholes are an indication of heavy asphalt use and poor maintenance. Small cracks in pavement lead to a much larger problem as environmental elements, heavy vehicles, and changing temperatures promote expansion and contraction.
Problems caused by potholes include vehicle collisions, expensive automotive repairs, flat tires, safety liabilities, and damaged asphalt. These forms of distress in pavement start out small but can develop into massive craters for water, road salts, and debris to accumulate.
Benefits of Pothole Repairs
Repairing potholes in driveways or parking lots ensures that drivers can navigate from point A to point B safely, and that the quality of the asphalt remains intact. It is often less expensive for property owners and homeowners to correct potholes sooner than later. Below are some of the main advantages of repairing potholes in your parking lot or driveway.
- Repairs enhance the appearance of your business, home, and surrounding areas.
- Prevents potholes from growing wider and deeper.
- Drivers can stay in control of their vehicles and prevent vehicle damage.
- Pothole repairs improve the flow of traffic and driver safety.
- People can walk about with fewer tripping and safety hazards.
- Safeguards your driveway or parking lot against further damage.
Asphalt Pothole Repair Process
To repair those troublesome and potentially dangerous potholes in your asphalt parking lot or driveway, we recommend contacting an experienced asphalt paving company. They can come to inspect the area and provide guidance regarding the best course of action. Depending on the severity of your potholes and the current season, they may decide to take the following steps:
Fill the Pothole with Asphalt
The first course of action for temporarily repairing potholes is to fill the hole with asphalt. This can be done with cold patch asphalt, a material designed to fill cracks, potholes, and patches, even in cold winter months. You can purchase cold patch asphalt and perform the pothole repairs yourself, making it a great option for homeowners or property owners looking for a short-term yet effective solution. When the temperatures begin to warm, and you are ready for a more permanent fix, we recommend contacting your local asphalt paving company to handle the job. At NYS Enterprises, we provide high-quality asphalt paving and repair services and can permanently fill your driveway or parking lot potholes, providing you peace of mind.
Grind and Repave
If your potholes are putting a significant amount of strain on your driveway or parking lot’s infrastructure, you may need your pavement repaved. Asphalt grinding is when a machine grinds the top layer of asphalt to the specified depth required to eliminate the potholes. You then have a smooth surface to lay a fresh coat of asphalt pavement. This method permanently removes potholes and transforms your old parking lot or driveway into a smooth, damage-free surface.
After repairing your existing potholes, be sure to watch for the occurrence of new holes. Watch for areas of poor drainage after a rain, and take the steps necessary to improve drainage in that area. Also, be sure to keep an eye on cracks beginning to form. Discovering the reasons for pothole formation and acting on them early is critical to keeping your driveway or parking lot in tip-top shape.
For proper drainage, it is best if your property has french drains or catch basins and if the parking lot or driveway is placed so that it slopes mildly in the direction the water drains. You’ll also want to ensure that your home or commercial building’s gutters and downspouts are unclogged and clear.
How to Prevent Driveway and Parking Lot Potholes
By performing routine maintenance on your driveway or parking lot, potholes can be prevented from forming. It is much cheaper and easier to maintain your driveway or parking lot while it’s in good condition than fixing it once potholes have formed.
Crack sealing can help prevent potholes from forming. With crack sealing, cracks or gaps in the pavement are sealed to prevent water and other foreign material from seeping into the pavement and eroding the ground beneath.
As cracks expand or contract in extreme temperature, crack sealing is typically performed in the spring or fall. This ensures that an appropriate amount of sealant is used. All cracks are cleaned and sealed, and some may require a backing rod depending on their size.
While hairline cracks cannot be individually sealed, a surface seal can be used over the pavement to fill them. This will prevent hairline cracks from becoming larger, more problematic cracks down the line. At NYS Enterprises, we provide asphalt crack sealing and seal coating services to prevent the development of potholes in your parking lot or driveway.