Potholes are nuisances that can weaken your asphalt, damage your car’s suspension, and make your ride less than smooth. But what causes potholes? It’s more than just constant pressure and cars driving over the asphalt – and here’s how it happens.
Ice, Salt, and Asphalt Damage
Potholes form when groundwater contracts and expands under the surface of the asphalt.
See, when it rains or snows, water can seep into even the tiniest cracks in the asphalt (especially in asphalt that is already old, eroded, or damaged). This water gathers under the surface of the pavement itself. While these pools of water can cause problems of their own, this isn’t what causes potholes.
Instead, it’s freezing temperatures that do it. The water that’s already sitting beneath the surface of the asphalt expands when it freezes. This means that it takes up more space, pushing gravel and even loose asphalt out of the way in order to do so.
Then, when the temperature gets warmer, the ice melts again, leaving behind large, empty spaces under the surface. Unfortunately, the resulting structural weakness can’t hold up to the weight of heavy vehicles, so as more cars drive on it, it cracks and caves in, forming a pothole.
This happens more frequently in the spring, as temperatures above and below the ground fluctuate to a great degree, leading to quicker freeze-and-thaw cycles. Salt spread on the roadways does the same thing, as it lowers the temperature that water freezes at. This forces water to freeze and thaw more rapidly, leading to more potholes in the long run.
United Asphalt Paving Can Repair Potholes!
To make your life easier and safer, we’re fully equipped to repair potholes in Fort Worth and the surrounding area. Give us a call to learn how we can use a hot patching method to fill in potholes and restore the structural integrity of roads, driveways, and more!