Here at Sunrise Asphalt, installing the pavement is only the beginning! Asphalt is a durable, long lasting surface and it can be made more so by paying attention to it, fixing repairs when they’re still minor before they completely ruin the structural integrity of the surface. This time on the Sunrise Asphalt blog, we want to go over 5 of the most common asphalt problems (and their causes) you might see in your surface.

Weather, like the winter we’re currently going through, brings moisture and change and with it comes expansions and contraction to the asphalt surface. That degradation can worsen if the moisture finds its way deeper into the surface so identifying the problem and the cause early can prevent a whole host of other, more costly repairs. 


Oh potholes, our old nemesis. We’ve talked about these at length and how to repair them, but let’s put it briefly here as well. These start as smaller holes or cracks in the top layer of the pavement that allows moisture to sink into the base. With the base weakened the top layer is just waiting to collapse, either when weight is put on it (like, say, a semi driving over it) or when so much of the base has been weakened and shifted that it can’t support itself, the asphalt will collapse and form a hole. The longer they are left unchecked, the worse the pothole will get as continuous weather and use will break down the edges of the hole further.


Depressions are any area of pavement that sits somewhat lower than the surrounding area. These depressions allow for rainwater to collect, making an easy target for water to sit and work its way into the lower layers. Depressions might be caused because of a shifting base, or the surface below the pavement being uneven and not properly accounted for. Smaller depressions can be fixed with a thin patch, making the section level, though larger depressions may require a full replacement (and restructuring) of the area.

Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking is what we call patterns of crisscrossing lines of cracks. These usually begin as longer cracks that then begin to spread and cause the web of cracks. Alligator cracking comes from having either a base, layer, or surface, that is too thin or weak. When your asphalt starts looking like a swampland crocodilian, it’s time to get to work and remove and repave the entire stretch. 

-Other Types of Cracks

  • Edge – An edge crack runs the same direction as the asphalt, usually within a few feet of the edge of the surface. These are caused by a lack of drainage and support.
  • Traverse – Cracks that run perpendicular to the asphalt, these can be caused by poor construction, temperature fluctuations, or underlying cracks in the layers below the surface.
  • Block – Block cracks are like Alligator cracking but on a larger scale. These are typically caused because something in the asphalt mix, specifically the binding material, didn’t expand and contract with the changes in temperature.


While this isn’t a common problem for us here in the Southwest, it’s still worth noting. Raveling is when the surface looks uneven or rough, with larger chunks breaking off the top. This is caused when the asphalt is initially installed while the weather is cool and when the pavement doesn’t get the intended traffic in warm weather that helps compact the asphalt together. Repairs can include applying an overlay or seal.


You ever drive along a well-used dirt road? You know how it has those tire paths worked into the dirt from constant use? That can happen with asphalt too! It shouldn’t, of course, but if the soil, aggregate, or asphalt aren’t compacted correctly, or if the pavement is too thin or weak, the constant use can push down on the asphalt and leave ruts. Minor ruts can be filled and overlaid, but more severe ruts will need to be removed and replaced.

Is your asphalt suffering from any of these complications? Sunrise Asphalt has you covered! Every parking lot, driveway, and road needs maintenance of some sort and Sunrise Asphalt is the company to help you get your pavement perfect. Contact us today!