Filling In The Cracks: How to Spot and Address Pavement Failures

//Filling In The Cracks: How to Spot and Address Pavement Failures

As we look forward to the warmer months, now is a great time to assess your parking lot’s integrity and aesthetics. The colder months can be especially rough on pavement, so it is beneficial to keep a close lookout for pavement failures. The best defense for pavement failures is a watchful eye – the smallest damage can lead to costly repairs if you wait too long. Resurfacing your lot in the Spring/Summer months is a great way to restore your lot’s health.


Simply put, pavement resurfacing – also known as overlaying – is the act of installing a new layer of asphalt over your existing pavement. Depending on your lot’s condition, repairing cracks and potholes may be necessary before the resurfacing process. Resurfacing differs from pavement replacement because the original foundation is left untouched. A complete asphalt replacement may be for you if there are excessive pavement failures or your lot is 20+ years old.


Resurfacing your lot can extend its shelf life by 8-15 years if done in a timely manner. Failing to maintain your lot can cause many issues over time. Proper maintenance may be the difference between spending thousands of dollars on pavement replacement or resurfacing.


Pavement failures come in many different shapes and sizes – each with its own unique set of consequences:

  • Cracking: Pavement cracking is the main culprit in pavement failures! Even the smallest cracks have a tendency to spread quickly and sporadically and cause a wide variety of issues. Cracking is normal over time due to the exposure to outdoor elements, so it is best to keep a watchful eye over your lot’s general aesthetics. Most cracks can be filled with asphalt and overlayed with a sealing coat.
  • Depression: A pavement depression consists of localized pavement surfaces with lower elevations than its surrounding pavement. Depressions are especially noticeable after rainfall, which causes pooling water that can easily damage your lot and cause issues to its drainage system. Investigating depressions to reveal the main cause of failure is a critical first step. Digging out the affected pavement and replacing the subgrade should correct the depression and restore even levels. The subgrade is then patched over with a new layer of asphalt.
  • Rutting: A rut is a depression or groove caused by an excessive overload due to vehicular wheel paths. Over time, traffic will begin to compact the pavement along a pathway leading to tire ruts. Filling the affected cracks resolves rutting issues.
  • Potholes: Cracking and depressions can play a part in the formation of potholes. If cracks and depressions go untreated, the water intrusion can create potholes by leaking into and eroding the surface and damaging the sub-base. Potholes can cause vehicle damage, thus making them a critical issue that should be resolved immediately. Patching the affected area is a quick fix, although it will not repair the damaged sub-base.
  • Raveling: Raveling is caused by excessive water intrusion and fatigued pavement on the surface. Once damaged, weather elements continue to wreak havoc on the pavement’s surface – causing the seal and aggregate rock to break. Minor raveling can be replaced with localized repairs, but larger excessive raveling may be cause for a complete pavement replacement.


You should consider resurfacing your lot once any sign of pavement failure arises. Early detection will save you money and help keep motorists safe. Take into account your lot’s general condition and age, as well as your budget when considering repairs. Generally, experts recommend resurfacing your lot every three years to maintain its appearance and protect against pavement failures. If you believe your lot is experiencing significant pavement failures, contact us at (610) 925-1990 or shoot Bonnie an email at

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