IDENTIFYING TYPES OF ASPHALT DAMAGE
Asphalt damage first appears as a graying in color and light raveling. At this point, fine hairline cracks are usually undetectable but are prevalent in the pavement. As the raveling continues, the asphalt continues to weaken and the fine hairline cracks spread and deepen. At this point, the asphalt is no longer impervious to water. As water enters the cracks, it will begin to erode the sub-base thereby weakening the foundation of the asphalt. The asphalt pavement structure is only as strong as the base it sits on and is now susceptible to the weight of vehicles depressing the weaker areas. The cracking will gradually intensify and begin a process known as alligator cracking. Alligator cracking gets its name because the cracks resemble the hide of an alligator’s back. The cracks will continue to worsen as more water enters and vehicles continue to compress the sub-base. Soon you will see signs of imminent failure as mud pumps up through these cracks. This is the last stage of failure as the asphalt breaks into small pieces and starts to pop out and form pot holes or larger ruts.
Areas of asphalt where cracking has been allowed to continue to the point where larger pieces of asphalt break away.
Areas of asphalt where elements from below the surface cause the sub-base to rise and cause upward pressure to the structure, most commonly tree roots.
Areas of asphalt where the sub-base is insufficient to sustain the demands placed on the surface. Specifications for installing asphalt pavement structures exist to ensure the asphalt can adequately support the weight and volume of vehicles.