Identifying Types of Asphalt Damage

Base Problems

Grade depressions: “Birdbaths”, (standing water on the pavement). Water is asphalt’s biggest enemy. Standing water will eventually destroy the asphalt in this area. The problem is most commonly caused by frost expansion in the gravel base or in the sub-grade. At a minimum these areas should be dug up and full depth patched. The long-term solution is to resurface the area so there is not any standing water.

Dumpster areas: If the pavement has failed because these areas were under designed, the pavement should be reconstructed from the base up.

Water seeping up through the crack (on a dry day): This may indicate a drainage problem under the pavement. Do not fill these cracks with any type of crackfiller or sealer. It would be a waste of time and money.


All pavement failure starts with a crack. Asphalt cracking is caused primarily by the effects of sun and moisture and ground movements. Once the crack is open, moisture is able to reach the pavement’s subsurface and soften it, or freeze and expand it. Soon the pavement begins to deteriorate around the crack, creating a larger problem. Proper attention to the cracks will prevent the problems from spreading and double the life of the pavement. Treating the problem while it is still small will pay big dividends later by delaying costly resurfacing.

Minor cracks: Less than 3/8 inch wide are routed to provide a reservoir for our hot applied elastomeric sealant.

Structural cracks: Cracks usually wider than 1/2 inch that extend from one edge of the surface to the other. All cracks wider than one half (1/2) inch but less than one (1) inch should be cleaned and filled with hot applied elastomeric crack sealant.

Big Cracks: Cracks wider than one (1) inch should be patched with hot mix asphalt.

Surface Problems

Ravelling or very porous asphalt: Stones have come out of the surface or the surface has a very “rough” texture. If the asphalt is not sealed, it will degrade rapidly. In severe cases an overlay may be required.

Alligatored areas: Interconnecting cracks forming a series of blocks resembling an alligator’s skin. This problem is usually caused by not maintaining the asphalt or a base failure problem. The problem areas should be removed and full depth patched.

Oil spots: Prior to coating these areas, (if the asphalt under them is sound, use the blade of a knife or thin screwdriver to check this out) prime them with a water based, acrylic oil spot primer.

Grass growing onto the edge of the asphalt: Before coating or Crack Filling the grass must be removed.

Old or badly dried out asphalt: Pavement that is usually several years old that has never been coated and has a dull gray appearance should be cleaned and rejuvenated with two or three coats of Micro Pave 2000.

Special Cleaning Problems: Deposited mud, tree sap, berry stains, etc. must be scrubbed off the asphalt for the coating to adhere properly. An acrylic oil spot primer should be applied prior to coating.

Previously coated asphalt: If the asphalt has been coated before with refined coal tar emulsion, or asphalt emulsion sealer, use of Micro Pave 2000 should not cause problems provided the sealer has not cracked. If the sealer has cracked, then sealing over it may not prevent the cracks from resurfacing.