10 Common Problems with Asphalt Surfaces: Effective Solutions for Lasting Results


Asphalt surfaces are widely used in various applications, from roads and parking lots to driveways and sidewalks. While asphalt is a durable and cost-effective material, it is not immune to wear and tear over time. As a property owner or manager, understanding the common problems that can arise with asphalt surfaces is crucial for effective maintenance and long-lasting results.

In this article, we will explore ten common problems that can occur with asphalt surfaces and provide practical solutions to address each issue. From cracks and potholes to fading and drainage problems, we’ll equip you with the knowledge and techniques to keep your asphalt surfaces in top condition.

Before we dive into the specific problems and solutions, it’s essential to mention that Asphalt Kingdom is a leading provider of high-quality asphalt maintenance products and solutions. With a wide range of products designed to tackle various asphalt issues, Asphalt Kingdom (asphaltkingdom.com) can be your reliable partner in maintaining and repairing your asphalt surfaces.

Let’s get started with the first common problem:

1. Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking, also known as fatigue cracking, is one of the most common and visually distinct asphalt surface problems. The name “alligator cracking” comes from the resemblance of the cracks to the scales of an alligator or crocodile.


  • Heavy traffic loads
  • Poor drainage
  • Insufficient pavement thickness
  • Weak base or subgrade support
  • Extreme temperature fluctuations


  • Fill the cracks with suitable crack fillers to prevent water infiltration and further deterioration.
  • For extensive alligator cracking, consider asphalt patching or overlay to reinforce the pavement structure.
  • Improve drainage in the area to reduce water accumulation and stress on the asphalt surface.

2. Potholes

Potholes are depressions or holes in the asphalt surface caused by the combined effects of traffic loads, water infiltration, and freeze-thaw cycles. They can range in size from small divots to large craters and pose safety hazards to vehicles and pedestrians.


  • Water infiltration through cracks or poorly drained areas
  • Traffic loads and vibrations
  • Freeze-thaw cycles in colder climates


  • Clean the pothole of debris and loose material.
  • Apply a tack coat to the edges to improve adhesion.
  • Fill the pothole with hot asphalt mix and compact it with a vibratory plate compactor.
  • For larger potholes or extensive damage, consider full-depth patching or overlay.

3. Cracks

Cracks are among the most common asphalt surface issues and can occur due to a variety of factors, including age, weather conditions, and traffic loads. If left unaddressed, cracks can lead to more significant problems such as potholes and alligator cracking.


  • UV exposure and oxidation
  • Freeze-thaw cycles
  • Traffic loads and movements
  • Poorly constructed pavement


  • For small cracks, use liquid crack fillers to seal the openings and prevent water infiltration.
  • Hot rubberized crack sealants are effective for larger cracks and fissures.
  • Regular crack sealing maintenance can extend the lifespan of your asphalt surface.

4. Fading and Oxidation

Over time, asphalt surfaces can fade and lose their dark black color due to oxidation from exposure to UV rays and environmental elements. Faded asphalt not only looks unappealing but can also lead to increased deterioration.


  • UV rays from the sun
  • Oxidation from exposure to air and moisture
  • Lack of sealcoating or maintenance


  • Sealcoating is an effective solution to protect the asphalt surface from UV rays and oxidation.
  • Applying a high-quality asphalt sealer will help restore the dark color and enhance the appearance of the pavement.
  • Regular sealcoating every 2-3 years can significantly extend the life of your asphalt surface.

5. Drainage Issues

Proper drainage is essential for maintaining the integrity of an asphalt surface. Poor drainage can lead to water pooling, which softens the pavement and weakens its structure, eventually leading to cracks and other damage.


  • Insufficient or blocked drainage systems
  • Uneven surface with low points that trap water
  • Lack of proper grading during construction


  • Ensure that the asphalt surface has adequate slope and grading to facilitate water runoff.
  • Regularly inspect and clean drainage systems to prevent blockages and water accumulation.
  • Address any drainage issues promptly to avoid water-related damage to the asphalt surface.

These are just the first five common problems with asphalt surfaces and their respective solutions. In the next section, we will explore five more challenges and effective ways to overcome them.

6. Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking, also known as fatigue cracking, is a pattern of interconnected cracks that resemble the scales of an alligator’s skin. This type of distress is a serious issue that requires immediate attention, as it can lead to extensive damage if left untreated.


  • Structural failure due to repeated traffic loads and movements
  • Weak base or subgrade materials
  • Insufficient pavement thickness


  • For minor alligator cracking, applying a rubberized asphalt emulsion is a cost-effective solution.
  • For more severe cases, full-depth patching or asphalt overlay may be necessary.
  • Addressing the underlying cause, such as reinforcing the base or subgrade, is crucial to prevent future alligator cracking.

7. Rutting

Rutting refers to the longitudinal depressions or grooves that form in the wheel paths of the asphalt surface. It is primarily caused by heavy traffic loads and is a common issue on roads and highways.


  • Heavy axle loads from trucks and buses
  • Insufficient pavement thickness or inadequate materials
  • Poorly designed pavement structure


  • Regular maintenance and timely repairs can help prevent rutting from worsening.
  • Structural improvements, such as adding stabilization layers, can enhance the pavement’s resistance to rutting.
  • Proper drainage and load distribution can also contribute to mitigating rutting.

8. Depressions and Rutting

Depressions are localized low areas in the asphalt surface, and they can often be seen in parking lots and other high-traffic areas. These depressions can collect water and lead to further deterioration if not addressed promptly.


  • Insufficient compaction during construction
  • Settlement of underlying materials
  • Heavy traffic loads and stress concentrations


  • For shallow depressions, cold patching or leveling compounds can be used to fill the low areas.
  • For more significant depressions, milling the affected area and applying new asphalt can help restore the surface’s uniformity.
  • Proper compaction during construction and regular maintenance are essential to prevent depressions from forming.

9. Raveling

Raveling is the loss of aggregate particles from the asphalt surface, resulting in a rough and uneven texture. This deterioration can occur due to a combination of factors, including weathering and traffic.


  • Aging and weathering of the asphalt binder
  • Poor quality aggregate or insufficient binder content
  • Traffic loads and friction


  • Applying a fresh layer of asphalt emulsion or rejuvenator can help restore the surface and prevent further raveling.
  • Regular sealcoating and maintenance can enhance the durability and resistance of the asphalt surface to raveling.
  • Using high-quality materials during construction can reduce the likelihood of raveling.

10. Poor Skid Resistance

Skid resistance is crucial for ensuring the safety of drivers, especially in wet or slippery conditions. A smooth and worn-out asphalt surface may lack adequate skid resistance, increasing the risk of accidents.


  • Aging and wear of the asphalt surface
  • Polishing of aggregates over time
  • Lack of regular maintenance and sealcoating


  • Applying a specialized asphalt sealer with added frictional properties can improve skid resistance.
  • Using aggregates with a high resistance to polishing during construction can enhance the surface’s grip.
  • Regular maintenance, including periodic resurfacing, can help maintain skid resistance.

In conclusion, asphalt surfaces are susceptible to various problems over time, ranging from cracks and potholes to poor skid resistance. However, with proper maintenance, timely repairs, and the right asphalt patching products, these issues can be effectively addressed, prolonging the lifespan and performance of the asphalt surface. Remember to consult with a reputable asphalt maintenance provider or supplier, to ensure you are using the most appropriate products and techniques for your specific needs. We hope you found the information helpful and valuable in maintaining the durability and appearance of your asphalt pavements. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to Asphalt Kingdom’s team of experts. Let’s work together to achieve long-lasting and high-quality asphalt surfaces!

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