Commercial Construction & Contracting Resources

6 Commercial Asphalt Paving Issues and Fixes  

Posted by Eric Park on November 3, 2017

“Man, that’s ugly!”

We’ve all thought that while driving on a terrible parking lot. People get even more upset after unwittingly testing their shocks in giant crater where pavement used to be.

There’s a lot that can go wrong with a parking lot, from ignoring routine maintenance to shady contractors foregoing quality with cheap workmanship to make a quick buck. Believe us, we’ve seen a lot of the latter in our 29 years.

Here are some terrible commercial asphalt paving jobs draining people’s wallets at the mechanic, hurting businesses, and making a mockery of good asphalt pavers everywhere.

6 Commercial Asphalt Issues and Fixes You Should Know 

1. Poor Subgrade

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And here’s another ugly example:

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The most important part of your asphalt pavement is a part you’ll (hopefully) never see: the subgrade. The subgrade is a series of layers made up of native soil and aggregate compacted before the asphalt is installed to provide:

  • Stability and support for new pavement
  • A barrier against winter frost, freezing, and thawing that can begin eroding your driving surface from above and below

If not adequately compacted, the underground support your asphalt surface needs will be lacking. Furthermore, the subgrade must be built strongly enough to support the weight of all vehicles using the lot.

Not only is failure potentially dangerous for people and vehicles, but it also gives a poor first impression for your business.

2. Cold Material

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This asphalt cooled too quickly. The temperature at which your mix was compacted (along with these other variables) affects the asphalt’s quality and density. Compaction must be done while the asphalt is above 200 degrees F.

Getting compaction right at the surface level will improve the lifespan and appearance of your lot.

3. Poor Joint Construction

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Sorry to say, but this lot will fail at this joint first.

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And this one at these joints.

Asphalt is laid in connecting strips or sections called joints. The quality of that joint will be tested as the pressure from vehicles and nature work over time to rip it apart. There are 4 key factors to building the perfect joint:

  • Compaction of the outer, unsupported edge of the first section
  • How much mix from the second section overlaps the first
  • Properly raking the mix at the joint
  • Compaction of the mix at the joint after laying the second section

An experienced asphalt paving service will have mastered that process.

4. Traffic Control

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Whoops! Somebody messed up here, and now that street just looks silly. Traffic control is as big a no-brainer as they come.

Vehicles should be removed from the area and diverted before the project begins. They should remain off the asphalt as it cures for 1-3 days. That’s especially true in warm weather, which keeps keeps the asphalt hot and pliable.

5. Thin Material

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This is common with less-than-reputable contractors. Looking to make a quick buck and hoping you don’t notice, they install a very thin layer of asphalt and call it good.

Now, what you see at first glance may look fine, but you won’t know you’ve been had. Time reveals all in the asphalt paving world, though.

6. Poor Grading (and Poor Finish)

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If the cup to the upper left were positioned in the upper right, it would easily stand over the visible portion of the curb. This uneven slant is a result of poor grading. The curb reveal should always be consistent.

Also notice the disfiguring marks and small holes in the asphalt. This lot is poorly finished.

Don’t Stand For These Asphalt Paving Issues

Count on years of experience and dedication to perfection to avoid these errors. Your business can’t afford the consequences of shoddy work by shady contractors.


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Topics: Parking Lot, Asphalt Paving

Written by Eric Park