car tire crashing into a pothole

Everyone's Had 'Em, Everyone Hates 'Em!

Potholes can get downright NASTY, creating problems for everyone. Not only do potholes damage vehicles, people can trip over them, they can fill with water and freeze creating liability issues for property managers and owners.  Canadian winters are becoming more extreme with more and more freeze & thaw cycles. Potholes are developing at an alarming rate not only on the roads but in parking lots as well.  Simply, potholes are cracks that weren't sealed and grew larger over the time. Pothole repairs should be part of an annual maintenance plan. 

To find out how potholes start. 

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Pothole repairs should be performed while they are small before they grow too large for two important reasons. 


1) Should a legal situation arise, a small pothole can undersandably be an oversight.  

A small pothole that is allowed to grow large is hard to overlook and is perceived as neglect.


2) Repairing small potholes can be relatively inexpensive.

When potholes become large they can only be repaired by cutting them out which becomes much more expensive.


two large potholes filled with water



Fortunately, small potholes can be repaired fairly quickly and are relatively inexpensive to fix with cold asphalt.  Contrary to popular belief, a pothole that is small in size, can be permanantly fixed with a good quality cold asphalt. Technology advances everyday and engineers who develop cold mix asphalts are creating incredible cold mix products that rival hot mix for small pothole applications. We use only the best product on the market.  

three potholes filled with asphalt


Once potholes grow past a certain threshold in size (approx 2'x2'), cold patch asphalt can no longer be used for a permanent repair.  Once this happens potholes can become more expensive to fix as they need to be cut out and hot asphalt is needed for a proper repair. This method requires more equipment, more time, more man power thus more expense. This method will guarantee a good quality, long lasting permanent fix. 

pothole repaired with a hot asphalt patch


The short answer is... WATER!

And this is how they form.

info-graphic of water seeping through pavement cracks
info-graphic of water softening asphalt subbase
info-graphic of water freezing and heaving the asphalt
info-graphic of asphalt sub-base eroded
info-graphic of care tire cracking pavement into a pothole
info-graphic of pothole formed

A pothole is a type of failure in an asphalt pavement, caused by the presence of water in the underlying soil structure and the presence of traffic passing over the affected area. Introduction of water to the underlying soil structure first weakens the supporting soil, raffic then fatigues and breaks the poorly supported asphalt surface in the affected area. Continued traffic action ejects both asphalt and the underlying soil material to create a hole in the pavement.

Potholes can grow to several feet in width, though they usually only become a few inches deep at most.  If they become large enough, damage to tires and vehicle suspensions can occur.  Serious accidents also can occur as a direct result, especially on roadways where vehicle speeds are greater.

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