What Causes Potholes to Form in Pavement?

Potholes are one of the top barrier defect concerns for commercial and industrial property owners. Not only do potholes jeopardize the safety and performance of pavement, they also reduce aesthetic appeal and overall property value. To better understand how to protect your pavement from potholes, it is helpful to learn what causes them to form and which strategies work best for repair and prevention. Continue reading to do just that!

Winter Pothole Formation

It is no secret that the rate of pothole formation tends to increase in the winter. After the freezing temperatures and snow appear, more potholes do as well. This is due to seasonal freeze-thaw cycles, which cause custody to contract and expand with the changing conditions. These conditions can cause surface defects to form very quickly, which is why it looks like so many pot holes and pavement depressions suddenly appear around this time of year.

Where and Why They Appear

The two factors that contribute to surface blemishes are the most cold temperatures and water. When these two factors are present, it is highly likely that barrier defects will occur. Both asphalt and concrete surfaces are vulnerable to these effects, including sidewalls, parking lots, roads, streets, pool decks, and more.

It starts with water seeing into existing cracks and depressions in pavement that have been caused by a combination of inclement, weather, traffic, and natural wear and tear. Water then reacts with the cold temperatures by freezing and subsequently expanding. Then, when temperatures become milder, the water thaws, causing the existing cracks to contract and extremely worsen. This is due to water draining and evaporating into the surface, causing a gap to form between the ground and the pavement. The more this cycle occurs, the larger the surface blemishes get, and often form what we frustratingly know as potholes.

Methods of Prevention

The best method of prevention when it comes to concrete and asphalt pavements is to repair surface blemishes while they are still in their early stages. This usually involves crack overbanding, crack filling, and pothole filling, using materials such as thermoplastic preformed tape, MMA cold plastic infills, cold lay material, hot work patch material, and more.

Another common preventive method is routine maintenance, which may include periodic resurfacing, overlays, reinforcement, cleaning, and incorporating an efficient water drainage system. If you are having new pavement installed, it is vital to hire a professionalaving company that has a reputation for providing reliable work and outstanding results. Many pavement problems start with poor installation, so be sure you hire wisely to avoid making a poor investment.