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Common Asphalt Paving Problems and How to Avoid Them

Asphalt paving can be a great investment for your property but requires proper maintenance to prevent problems. You’re not alone if you’ve noticed cracks, potholes, or uneven surfaces on your asphalt pavement. These are some of the most common issues property owners face with their asphalt paving. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of these problems and how to avoid them in the future. From choosing the right contractor to regular maintenance tips, we have got you covered. Keep reading to learn how to keep your asphalt pavement looking great for years.

Common Asphalt Paving Problems

Asphalt paving is a common method for constructing and maintaining roads, driveways, parking lots, and other surfaces. While asphalt is durable and cost-effective, it can encounter certain problems over time. Here are some common asphalt paving problems:


Asphalt can develop cracks due to various factors such as aging, weather conditions, heavy traffic, or improper installation. Cracks allow water to seep into the pavement, leading to further damage.


Potholes are formed when water penetrates through cracks in the asphalt and weakens the underlying layers, causing the surface to collapse. Potholes can be hazardous and can cause damage to vehicles.


Rutting refers to the formation of grooves or depressions in the asphalt surface caused by repeated traffic loads. It can occur due to insufficient pavement thickness, inadequate compaction, or poor mix design.

Fading and Oxidation

Exposure to sunlight and oxygen causes asphalt to fade and become grayish or dull. Oxidation can also make the asphalt more brittle and prone to cracking.

Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking resembles an alligator’s skin pattern, with interconnected cracks forming a series of irregular shapes. It typically occurs due to a combination of factors, including heavy traffic loads, inadequate pavement thickness, and weak base or subgrade.

Rutting at Wheel Paths

This type of rutting occurs specifically in the wheel paths of the road where vehicles travel most frequently. It can be caused by insufficient pavement thickness, inadequate compaction, or a weak subgrade.

Shoving or Raveling

Shoving or raveling refers to the displacement or loss of asphalt material from the surface, often resulting in rough and uneven pavement. It can occur due to poor compaction during installation or inappropriate asphalt mixtures.

Filling Settled Areas

Over time, some areas of the asphalt pavement may settle, leading to uneven surfaces and potential water pooling. These settled areas need to be properly filled and compacted to restore the smoothness of the pavement.

Causes of Asphalt Paving Problems

Proper preparation is crucial for a successful asphalt paving project. Asphalt paving problems can arise due to a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Poor Installation: Improper installation practices can lead to numerous issues. Insufficient compaction of the asphalt layers, inadequate base preparation, improper mix design, and incorrect asphalt thickness can all contribute to future paving problems.
  • Heavy Traffic Loads: Frequent and heavy traffic can stress the asphalt pavement significantly. If the pavement is not designed to withstand the anticipated load, it may lead to premature deterioration, rutting, or cracking.
  • Weather Conditions: Extreme weather conditions can take a toll on asphalt surfaces. Excessive heat can cause the asphalt to soften and deform, while freezing temperatures can lead to the expansion and contraction of the pavement, resulting in cracks and other damage.
  • Water Damage: Water is one of the biggest enemies of asphalt. Water infiltrates the pavement through cracks, or inadequate drainage can weaken the underlying layers, causing potholes, alligator cracking, and other pavement distress.
  • Lack of Maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial for preserving the integrity of asphalt surfaces. Failure to perform routine inspections, seal coating, crack sealing, and repairs can allow minor issues to escalate into major problems over time.
  • Aging: Like any material, asphalt ages over time. As asphalt oxidizes, it becomes more brittle and susceptible to cracking. Aging alone may not cause significant problems, but it can exacerbate pavement deterioration when combined with other factors like traffic and weather.
  • Poor Quality Materials: Using substandard or low-quality materials during the paving process can compromise the durability and performance of the asphalt. Inferior asphalt mixtures or additives can result in early cracking, rutting, or other issues.
  • Subgrade Issues: The quality and stability of the subgrade (the underlying soil or aggregate base) play a crucial role in the longevity of the asphalt surface. Inadequate compaction, weak subgrade soil, or poor drainage in the subgrade can lead to uneven settling, rutting, and cracking.
  • Chemicals and Spills: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as gasoline, oil, or solvents, can degrade the asphalt pavement. Spills and leaks from vehicles or equipment can weaken the asphalt and cause it to deteriorate more rapidly.

Lack of Proper Design: A poorly designed pavement, without considering factors like anticipated traffic volume, soil conditions, and climate, can lead to premature failures and costly repairs.

How to Avoid Asphalt Paving Problems

Avoiding asphalt paving problems requires careful planning, proper installation techniques, and regular maintenance. Here are some steps you can take to minimize issues with asphalt paving:

  • Hire a reputable contractor: Choose a licensed and experienced contractor with a good track record in asphalt paving. Check their references and reviews before making a decision.
  • Proper site preparation: Ensure the site is prepared before the asphalt installation. This includes clearing the area of debris, grading the surface to promote proper drainage, and compacting the soil or sub-base.
  • Quality materials: Insist on high-quality materials for your asphalt paving project. This includes the asphalt mix, aggregate, and any additives or sealants. Inferior materials can lead to premature deterioration and other problems.
  • Thickness and compaction: The thickness and compaction of the asphalt are crucial for durability. Ensure the contractor follows the recommended thickness requirements and compacts the asphalt sufficiently to achieve the desired density.
  • Proper drainage: Proper drainage is essential to prevent water from pooling on the surface, which can lead to cracks and other damage. Ensure the pavement has adequate slopes and the installation includes appropriate drainage features such as gutters or drains.
  • Regular maintenance: Implement a regular maintenance plan for your asphalt pavement. This includes routine inspections, crack sealing, seal coating, and periodic resurfacing or overlaying as needed. Promptly address any issues, such as potholes or cracks, to prevent them from worsening.
  • Avoid heavy loads and sharp objects: Limit heavy vehicle traffic and avoid parking or driving heavy machinery on the pavement whenever possible. Also, discourage using sharp objects, such as snowplow blades or metal tools, that can damage the asphalt surface.
  • Protect from the elements: Extreme weather conditions, such as intense heat or freezing temperatures, can cause asphalt to deteriorate faster. Consider using protective measures such as sealcoating or applying asphalt emulsion to shield the pavement from the elements.

Regular inspections: Conduct regular inspections of the asphalt pavement to promptly identify and address any emerging issues. This will help prevent minor problems from escalating into major ones.


In conclusion, avoiding asphalt paving problems requires a combination of proactive measures and reactive steps. You must identify the common issues, such as potholes, cracks, and uneven surfaces, and get to the root cause of these problems. This includes poor drainage, inadequate sub-base preparation, lack of maintenance, and so on. Adopting preventive measures such as regular inspections, timely repairs, and ensuring proper drainage can go a long way in preventing future problems.

If you need professional help with your asphalt paving problems, reach out to Five Star Paving. With decades of experience in asphalt paving in Indiana, we have the expertise to handle any project – big or small. Our team of professionals is dedicated to delivering high-quality work that exceeds your expectations. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today at 317-339-2107 and get your asphalt pavement back on track!

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