Your pavement can tell you a lot about its condition if you know how to “read” the signs correctly. There are differences between pavement wear and pavement distress, and there are differences between pavement distress and pavement failure. Distress is the middle stage of pavement deterioration, and if you know the symptoms of distress, you can normally take corrective action before your pavement fails.
Houston….What Is Your Pavement Telling You
• Numerous, connected cracks that look like the scales on a reptile’s back is called alligator cracking. It normally indicates that water penetration has occurred and the foundation has been weakened. However, it can also result from poor compaction during installation or too thin a layer of asphalt installed for the loads required.
• Ruts in the asphalt that coincide with the flow of traffic are symptoms that either the asphalt layer was too thin or the design was incorrect to handle the traffic to which the pavement has been subjected. Rutting can be a hazard to drivers; water pooling in the ruts can lead to hydroplaning, while the ruts themselves can jar the vehicle sufficiently to change its travel direction.
• A condition that is alternately called corrugation, shoving or wash-boarding is indicated by wavy marks where cars or trucks must stop and then accelerate, such as around stop signs. Corrugation is a sign that the formula used to mix the asphalt was incorrect. The error could have been a shortage of aggregate, an excess of asphalt cement or perhaps an error in selecting the right asphalt cement for the weather found in the area.
• Flushing is the term most often used in the asphalt industry to describe patches of the pavement that are noticeably smoother or shinier than they should be. Flushing results from too much asphalt cement in the mix, so it is not at all unusual to find pavement that shows both flushing and corrugation.
• Rips or wrinkles in the asphalt indicates that the bond between the asphalt and its foundation has failed. Bond failures show up quickly, usually within the pavement’s first 12 months of use. Installation errors are the most common causes of bond failure.
• Mud or water being pumped to the surface by traffic is a good indication that one or more potholes are on the way. The mud or water is coming from beneath the pavement, indicating that water penetration is destabilizing the foundation. Once the foundation has deteriorated sufficiently, the pavement will sag. Potholes and/or alligator cracking can result.
There is no universal solution for distressed asphalt. Your contractor will need to inspect your site to determine the appropriate treatment. An overlay is one possible solution; a new layer of asphalt is laid over your existing pavement. Another possibility is the cut-and-patch technique, which involves cutting out the “bad” asphalt and applying a patch. Other methods may be used, such as crack sealing to eliminate water penetration.
LDC Paving provides a full range of asphalt paving services to customers in Houston and surrounding counties. From asphalt paving to sealcoating and from repairs to parking lot striping and concrete repair, our crews have the experience and knowledge to provide superior results at competitive prices. To request a free quote, call 832-640-7296 or complete our online form.