Can You Stop Potholes From Forming In An Asphalt Parking Lot?

If you've noticed potholes forming in your asphalt parking lot, you may be wondering if there's anything that you can do to prevent them. The cost of having them patched can add up, and they pose a danger to drivers and pedestrians. Thankfully, you can minimize the risk of potholes appearing in your parking lot with good maintenance. To learn more about how potholes form and how you can prevent them in your parking lot, read on.

How Do Potholes Form in Asphalt?

Potholes form when there's an empty space underneath the asphalt pavement. When an asphalt parking lot is first constructed, the soil is compacted and a layer of crushed stone is laid on top of it. The asphalt is poured on top of the crushed stone. The layer of crushed stone is called a subbase. If the soil underneath of the subbase shifts and creates a gap, the crushed stone will fall into it. This results in a gap in the subbase itself. When a vehicle drives over the affected area, the pressure will push the asphalt into the open space and cause a pothole to form.

Water is the primary reason why the soil underneath the subbase shifts. When the soil becomes saturated with water and expands, it can leave air gaps behind when it dries out. Similarly, frozen water in the soil can lead to gaps when it melts. That's why potholes are more common in areas that have clay soil (which expands readily when saturated) and frequent freezing weather.

How Can You Prevent Potholes in Your Parking Lot?

There's no way to completely prevent potholes in your parking lot, but good design and maintenance will minimize the chances of them forming. In order to protect your parking lot from potholes, you need to reduce the amount of water that's able to enter the soil beneath the subbase.

Water can enter the soil from the sides or from above. To stop it from entering the soil from the side, your parking lot will need adequate drainage. You can install deep French drains around your parking lot to route water into storm drains or into a nearby swale. Diverting water reduces the chance that the soil underneath the subbase will become saturated.

You can prevent water from entering the soil from the top by making sure that you quickly repair any cracks or potholes that form in the asphalt. Since the subbase is made of crushed stone, water that enters into the subbase will drain very quickly into the soil underneath, raising the risk that potholes will form in the parking lot. If the subbase is exposed due to potholes or cracks in the asphalt above, water will be able to enter.

Overall, reducing water intrusion into the soil is the key to keeping potholes to a minimum. Work with an asphalt paving service in your area to quickly patch any cracks and potholes that appear and make sure that rainwater is diverted away from the sides of your parking lot. With proper maintenance, you'll prevent your parking lot from being riddled by unsightly and dangerous potholes.

For more information about asphalt paving, contact a local paving company such as Arrow Blacktop & Masonry Inc.