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Serving all of Southern California

Inland Empire Palm Desert San Diego

Serving all of Southern California

Inland Empire Palm Desert San Diego

What is a Pothole?

by | Feb 2, 2022 | Blog

What is it?

A pothole is a depression in a road surface, parking lot, driveway, etc. where traffic and water erosion have removed broken pieces of the asphalt and underlying subgrade.

What causes it?

Potholes are generally the result of water erosion in the underlying soil structure and traffic passing over the area. The water is able to seep in via cracks in the asphalt surface, or through insufficient drainage. Water penetration weakens the underlying soil and the weight of traffic stresses and fractures the poorly supported asphalt surface. As further traffic drives over the affected area, asphalt and soil material are displaced, creating a hole in the surface.

It’s not just the cracks; the water you can’t see seeping in is just as harmful. Underground irrigation leaks and overwatering causes water to settle and begin the erosion process leading to the perfect environment for pothole formation.

While water is usually the #1 culprit, potholes can also be caused by insufficient asphalt thickness that cannot stand up to the pressure exerted by the flow of traffic on the surface. The weak surface cracks under the weight of traffic and allows water to penetrate and begin the subgrade erosion process.

What’s so bad about it?

Aside from just not being nice to look at, potholes are dangerous as well. Driving over them causes damage to vehicles’ tires, wheels, suspension, and alignment to the tune of an estimated $3 BILLION a year (according to a study by AAA in February of 2020) in vehicle damage repair. Damaged or blown-out tires and wheels often lead to losing control over the vehicle and crashing. Even swerving to avoid them causes traffic accidents ranging from fender-benders to fatalities.

What can I do about it?

The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings true when it comes to cracks and potholes. The best way to treat potholes is to prevent them in the first place by sealing cracks as they appear and before they become problematic. Water will ALWAYS find a way to penetrate those surface cracks and wreak havoc on the underlying subgrade.

If you already have potholes, the treatment would depend on the quantity and severity. For a pothole or two, scheduling a patch installation with your asphalt or seal coat service might be your best option. But if your surface more closely resembles Swiss cheese than a flat driving surface, it might be time to look into an overlay, resurfacing, or a complete removal and replacement.

Give us a call today and speak with an experienced Estimator who can walk you through the right options for you. Pothole repair and patching can easily be added when you schedule your repair or maintenance service. We care about your timeline and budget and will create a customized solution to fit your needs.

Want to learn more about this topic and paving in general? AMS Paving is proud to offer educational opportunities for you and your team. Our course Asphalt Maintenance, Realistic Expectations is approved by Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) to fulfill continuing education requirements for the CMCA® certification.

Contact Bevan at bevan@amspaving.com today to schedule a lunch-and-learn for your office.

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