Potholes are potentially one of the most pesky things about driving. There’s nothing more annoying than a pothole in an impossible-to-miss spot on your driveway. But depending on where you live, this is bound to happen sooner or later. When it does, it’s important to know whether you should act immediately, and what the consequences of waiting might be.
What Causes Asphalt Damage?
Basically the answer is time, weather, usage, improper installation, and/or a low quality asphalt mix. You’re more likely to experience asphalt damage if you live somewhere with a strong weather element, like cold wet winters. This is because potholes and other damage are caused by water weakening the asphalt. When asphalt freezes and thaws, pavement can warp allowing water to enter. When you add in the stress of day-to-day traffic, sooner or later the weakened pavement will warp and break. While potholes are especially common on city streets or highways that see a high volume of traffic, they can also form over time in an asphalt driveway where your vehicle is passing over the exact same spot several times per day, even at a slow speed.
When is it Time to Repair Asphalt?
It’s often better to repair or re-pave an asphalt driveway immediately when it starts showing signs of damage — even if it isn’t yet a nuisance to drive on. If your driveway has some small irregularities or fissures, it may not seem like professional intervention is really necessary. With time, however, small cracks can expand and form “networks.” Once your asphalt gets to this point, a small scale repair job won’t address the root of the problem. You’re better off finding a contractor to repair all or at least a portion of your asphalt.
Considerations for Finding Asphalt Contractors
1. Compare Prices
Obviously you want the best bang for our buck, but a low price isn’t worth poor quality — especially if it means needing more repairs a year or two from now. Get quotes from a few different contractors if you’re in the market to repave or repair your driveway, and be wary of any bids that are uncharacteristically low. Repairing asphalt requires specialty equipment, years of experience, and proper training.
2. Asphalt Grade
Asphalt is a material that is recycled. The more times it has been used, the lower grade it is. If you want to ensure that your patchwork will last for the long term (any you’re willing to pay a bit more for durability and longevity) requesting higher grade asphalt is worth it.
3. Ask about Insurance
Depending where you live, the minimum required insurance for asphalt contractors may vary. A contractor should have no problem providing you with his or her insurance information. Ideally, choose a contractor with more than the minimum required insurance. If something goes wrong on your property, you want to make sure that it will be covered.
Finding the right people for the job
Spend a little time up front researching asphalt specialists will allow you to find one that’s experienced, reputable, and will give you honest advice about having your asphalt patched now or whether it’s ok to wait.