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What Causes Potholes and How to Fix Them?

No matter which part of the country you are in, you will find potholes on the roads. To understand why this is a seemingly universal problem, we must first understand the structure of asphalt paving. Asphalt roads are being constructed in the same way from almost 200 years when the Macadam technique was first invented. Large gravel is laid on top of a levelled dirt or bedrock plane, which is then topped up with a layer of smaller stones mixed with asphalt. The whole surface is then compressed using heavy rollers to make it compact and impermeable to moisture. Custom Blacktop uses the same basic technique, but we have custom mixes that provide added durability to the roads.


Water is the biggest weakness of asphalt paving. Asphalt paving is durable, but traffic and weather cause it to form cracks over time. When moisture enters these cracks, it makes its way to the lower layers and erodes the dirt and bedrock, causing the asphalt surface to cave in. In places of freezing weather, the freeze-thaw cycle of the water seeps into the cracks accelerates the pothole formation process.


Cracks and small dents are common, but when they are left unrepaired, they quickly turn into potholes that have the potential to cause serious motor accidents. Unfortunately, we are already using the best road building materials and techniques available to us. So, preventative measures are the only way to reduce the risk of potholes.


How to reduce the chances of pothole formation:

·         Implement proper road-building techniques

It is proven that roads that are constructed with a raised crown are more durable as they allow rainwater and melting snow to trickle down away from the road. This is one of the essential features of roads without which road damage would be far worse.

·         Install drainages

Standing water manages to seep through the surface through the tiniest cracks, so installing drainages along the roads is very important. Excellent drainage systems must be installed in low standing places like underpasses as water can quickly accumulate there.

·         Conduct regular maintenance on all roads

Roads that have heavy traffic have a higher chance of forming potholes. But, these potholes are brought into notice and fixed quickly. The potholes in the neglected roads that are mostly unused are the hazardous ones. Empty streets make way for drivers to speed on. When they approach a pothole at high speeds, they swerve to avoid it in the last moment, which can cause fatal accidents. Asphalt paving contractors must be hired to conduct regular maintenance across all areas of a city.

How to fix potholes:

·         Spray-injection repair

This method involves using a spray injection machine to blow water and debris out of the pothole using powerful air blasts and injecting asphalt and aggregate into the pothole. The pothole is prepared for the filling by layering a tack coat binder across the pothole's interior surface. After the pothole is filled with the asphalt mix, a final layer of aggregate is added on top.

·         Semi-permanent fix

This is the best pothole repair method. First, the pothole is cleared of all the debris and water. Then cuts are made along all the sides of the pothole to create an even shape. This ensures there’s no weak pavement left around the pothole area that can deteriorate into another pothole. The pothole is then patched up with hot mix or cold mix asphalt and compacted.


There are other methods that you can find online or by asking your neighbour, but we recommend that you stick to these two methods as other methods are not entirely reliable. Custom Blacktop has a reputation for reliability as we can control the supply chain from the manufacturing plant to the job site. Count on us for asphalt paving and concrete paving services in Burnaby. Read our blog to learn about the history of asphalt paving.


Contact us today for a quote on your asphalt paving project.



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