The number one cause of potholes is water infiltration. Asphalt is put down as a stable, impenetrable surface, but over time asphalt will form small cracks. Water can slowly seep into these cracks and displace your asphalt’s sub-grade materials. Once water finds its way into your asphalt’s sub-layers, it will expand and contract with freezing and thawing cycles, further damaging the pavement underneath the surface.
Eventually, this hydro-excavating effect displaces enough sub-grade material to weaken your asphalt and leave it susceptible to damage. When a vehicle drives over this weakened area, it collapses, and you’re left with a pothole. The continued traffic and freezing and thawing cycles can turn a tiny pothole into a big problem if not addressed right away.
Most homeowners grab a bag of cold-mix asphalt to patch potholes in their asphalt, but cold mix asphalt is only meant to be a temporary solution. Because most potholes form in the winter, cold mix asphalt is the only solution, but it should never be a permanent fix.
For a permanent fix, you need to use hot mix asphalt. You may need to wait until temperatures rise to use hot mix asphalt if your pothole formed in the winter, but a permanent fix is the best way to keep damage and other issues from spreading.
The only surefire way to completely prevent potholes is by not using your asphalt. Obviously, that doesn’t work for homeowners, but there are ways you can mitigate your chances of getting potholes to begin with.
Potholes can cause vehicle damage, personal injury, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars per year. Still, you can try to prevent potholes on your personal property by taking proper steps like seal coating. Always make a permanent fix on any potholes to avoid further damage and, when in doubt, call Colorado Pavement Solutions for a free estimate.