Types of Pavement Damage and How To Repair Them

Types of Pavement Cracking

We’ve compiled a list of common types of pavement damage, providing a basic understanding of what to look out for and how to address these issues. To maximize the lifespan of your asphalt, regular upkeep is essential. This not only contributes to increased safety and property value but also extends the usability of your pavement. Conducting routine inspections to identify and promptly address issues such as cracks, divots, and rutting can significantly prolong the life of your asphalt.

Well-maintained asphalt driveways, roads, parking lots, and trails can last between 15 to 20 years. In contrast, inadequate maintenance can lead to visible deterioration within 3 to 5 years.

Paved Parking Lot by Faith Paving in SpringfieldThe specific challenges your asphalt encounters depend on factors like location, weather, subbase conditions, and other miscellaneous elements. Recognizing problems early on and addressing them promptly can save both time and money.

Different Types of Pavement Damage: Cracking

Block Cracking

Identification: Squares or circles of cracks.

Causes: Use of old or dry mix during installation.

Repair: Thin overlays or surface treatments can seal cracks and prevent future damage.


Edge Cracking

Identification: Long cracks along pavement edges.

Causes: Soil drying, poor drainage, vegetation, and heavy traffic.

Repair: Fill with asphalt crack seal or emulsion; improve drainage and remove vegetation.


Fatigue Cracking (Alligator Cracking)

Identification: Numerous small cracks resembling alligator skin.

Causes: Design flaws, excessive loads, poor drainage, and temperature fluctuations.

Repair: Full-depth patches to restore integrity and prevent future cracking.


Linear and Transverse Cracking

Linear Cracking: Along joints, often due to improper construction.

Causes: Shrinkage, temperature fluctuations, and sub-layer issues.

Repair: Improve drainage and fill cracks with asphalt and sand or emulsion slurry.


Reflection Cracking

Identification: Cracking mirroring sub-layer issues.

Causes: Sub-layer joints or shifting.

Repair: Fill cracks with sealants and asphalt mixtures to prevent moisture infiltration.


Slippage Cracks

Identification: Asphalt slipping along the pavement with wrinkles and gaps.

Causes: Poor adherence between layers, excessive sand in mix.

Repair: Full or partial depth patches based on severity and slippage extent.

Understanding and addressing these various types of pavement damage, like cracking is crucial for maintaining the longevity and functionality of your asphalt surfaces. Regular inspections and appropriate repairs can significantly extend the life of your pavement, ensuring a safer and more durable infrastructure.

Types of Pavement Damage: CrackingDifferent Types of Corrugations


Identification: Lumps and bumps in the pavement.

Causes: Excessive asphalt, contamination, moisture in the base, or incorrect asphalt grade.

Repair: Cut out affected areas and apply full-depth patches.



Identification: Indentations along wheel paths.

Causes: Compression, insufficient compaction, moisture, and heavy traffic.

Repair: Apply cold mill and overlay or thin surface patch to level the roadway.


Grade Depressions

Identification: Sections settling lower than surroundings, visible after rain.

Causes: Settling lower layers and improper surface installation.

Repair: Repair with overlay, infrared patches, and cold mill.



Types of Corrugations - PotholesOccurrence: Common, especially in the Midwest.

Causes: Previous pavement damage, cracks, patch failures, swelling, rutting, and water infiltration.

Seasonal Impact: More apparent in spring and early summer after winter ice, snow, and salt.

Hazards: Potholes pose risks to tires, rims, suspension, and alignment.

Vigilance: Watch speed and avoid potholes until repaired.

Repair Options: Patching, filling, or cutting out and replacing with full-depth patches.

Preferred Material: Custom mixed cold mix asphalt suitable for all temperatures and weather conditions.

Application: Can be used in wet, dry, cold, or hot weather, even for water-filled potholes.

Small Potholes: Easily filled with cold mix and pressed until level.

Large Potholes: May require cutting out the section for a larger repair.

Understanding the nature of pavement damage and irregularities and employing appropriate repairs is vital for maintaining road safety and infrastructure integrity. Regular inspections and timely interventions can enhance the overall longevity and performance of asphalt surfaces.

Different Types of Asphalt Pavement Damage: Swells

Asphalt Pavement Swells

Cause: Soil shrinkage and expansion due to humidity and moisture fluctuations.

Factors: Minerals and clay in the soil affected by weather conditions.

Damage: Cracked, wrinkling, and bulging sections.

Repair: Cut out damaged areas and install a full-depth patch.


Patch FailuresPatchwork for Pavement

Challenge: Improperly installed patches and weather-induced deterioration.

Repair: Cut out previous patch, smooth hole edges, and apply deep or full surface patches.



Process: Daily temperature and moisture fluctuations impacting asphalt.

Outcome: Asphalt color fading, increased vulnerability to cracks, divots, and potholes.

Maintenance: Sealcoating every two to three years, identifying and filling cracks and potholes.



Causes: Excessive hardening of asphalt binder, poor quality mixture.

Effect: Increased susceptibility to environmental factors.

Repair: Overlay treatment to smooth and seal the road surface.


Bleeding (Flushing)

Trigger: Asphalt binder leaks through the pavement surface.

Issues: Sticky, messy areas, excessively slick surfaces during rain.

Correction: Apply coarse sand mixture to absorb excess binder; resurfacing may be required for severe cases.


Polished Aggregate

Scenario: Soft aggregate (e.g., river rock) polishing under heavy traffic.

Risk: Slick surface, especially in wet, snowy, or icy conditions.

Remedy: Non-stick slurry seal, BST, or overlay treatment; avoid fog treatments for correction.

Understanding the specific challenges associated with each asphalt pavement damage issue is essential for implementing effective and targeted solutions. Regular maintenance, prompt repairs, and the use of appropriate treatments can significantly enhance the durability and performance of asphalt surfaces.

Loss of Surface Treatment Aggregate

The loss of aggregate in surface treatment arises when asphalt is not promptly spread and compressed after application or is allowed to cool beyond optimal temperatures. Additionally, the use of a steel roller instead of pneumatic tire rollers during installation can contribute to this issue. To rectify, the recommended solution involves laying and spreading a hot, coarse sand mixture, followed by compression using a pneumatic tire roller instead of a steel wheel roller.

Correct Representation of Asphalt Paved Driveway With SteamrollerTrust Your Local Pavement Experts At Faith Paving

At Faith Paving in Springfield, MO, we take pride in delivering top-notch asphalt paving solutions that stand the test of time. Our commitment to quality craftsmanship, attention to detail, and customer satisfaction sets us apart in the industry.

Whether you’re looking to enhance your driveway, parking lot, or road, trust Faith Paving for reliable and durable results. Ready to transform your surfaces with excellence? Contact us today for a consultation and experience the difference that Faith Paving brings to every project. Your journey to exceptional asphalt paving begins with us – paving the way for a smoother, safer, and more resilient future.


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