What Causes Potholes in Driveways?

The driveway in your home should be a place where you can safely park your car and not an area wrought with danger and obstacles. If you think that entering your own driveway is like running a slalom course, then it’s high time to fix the problem areas. A driveway that is neglected for long periods of time will only get worse and it’s imperative that you start on the repairs immediately. The sooner you repair it, the more safer and beautiful it will look from outside. To fix driveway problems, address areas that need repairs like potholes.

What are Potholes?

Potholes are the main culprits behind an unattractive and unsafe driveway. Due to the limitations of road construction and nature, the driveway develops pockmarks and deep divots unsuitable for driving on. Driveways are usually constructed in layers, starting with a surface of compacted earth and gravel for drainage. However some may even feature a subsurface of bricks. These layers are then covered with asphalt, a substance which is a mixture of bitumen, aggregate gravel, oil byproducts and curatives. Good quality asphalt repels snow and rainfall, forcing the excess water into drains located near the shoulder of the road. The driveway surface cracks in time due to constant pressure from driving over it and also due to the heat of the day. In homes, improper drainage in the area contributes to water logging, which causes water to seep between the cracks and into the underlying surface of the driveway. Potholes are then formed during cooler temperatures when the water freezes and expands, which in turn pushes out some of the gravel and dirt revealing a hole. If you continue to drive over a damaged driveway with unseen holes, then you put even more stress on the asphalt layer covering it.  Part of your repairs should improve the drainage in the area near the driveway before the asphalt covering is installed.

How to repair Potholes

Potholes can also cause a lot of damage to your car’s tires and suspension system if you fail to avoid driving over it. They can also fill with water during the rainy season and add to any other hazards. Excessive flooding and rainfall can also eat away the road even in areas where temperatures don’t fall below freezing point. There are two ways adopted by contractors and road maintenance workers to fix potholes. These repairs roughly resemble the way a dentist uses a permanent or temporary filling to seal the cavity. During the cold months, potholes can be repaired by using what is called a cold winter mix. A mixture of soft asphalt is poured into the holes after all the debris has been cleared. Then to add some increased stability and strength to the surface, a layer of gravel is added. However, the damage may reappear during the onset of spring. During the hotter months, potholes are repaired using a hot summer mix which is a more permanent fix compared to the former. A mixture of aggregate and road grade asphalt is used to last for years, but it can only be applied during warm, dry weather. The only disadvantage is that the traffic must be rerouted around the area where the work is taking place so that it has time to set and prepare the road for the patch. The finished layer is then compacted to match the level of the road so that it appears invisible and in line with the old surface.

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