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How Potholes Form, and What You Can Do About Them

We’ve all hit a pothole or two. It’s an awful feeling. They are one of the most common forms of asphalt damage. Not only does hitting a pothole while driving startle the daylights out of us, but they can also cause significant damage to your vehicle. Hit enough potholes, or just a severe one, and you’re courting punctured tires, cracks to your wheels, and even knocking your car out of alignment. As if that’s not enough, you risk damaging your suspension as well.

You may have wondered: how do potholes form? Below, we’ve laid out the basics of what causes potholes, and what you can do about them.

How Do Potholes Form?

Potholes are one of the most commonly occurring forms of asphalt damage. Here’s what you need to know.


Have you ever left a can of soda in the freezer for too long? If so, you probably returned to quite a mess. This is because of a fundamental property of liquids: when they freeze, they expand. The expansion and contraction caused by water is an essential part of what causes potholes to form. Unless it has been recently sealcoated, asphalt can absorb excessive rainwater if it has any cracks. Repeated freezing and melting of this water impose stress on the asphalt. This is one reason you see more potholes in the spring.


Combined with water and fluctuating temperatures, traffic is all that is necessary to cause a pothole to form. The stress caused by the expansion and contraction of water as it freezes weakens the both the asphalt itself and the sub-base beneath. Even if there are no cracks in the asphalt, the source of the problem could be the soil underneath. As cars and trucks drive over areas where moisture has been trapped, the pavement is at risk of cracking underneath all that pressure.

What can you do?

Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take today to minimize the risk of potholes forming in your asphalt driveway or parking lot. One of the most effective forms of preventative maintenance is sealcoating. Sealcoating adds a protective layer to asphalt, which prevents water from slipping through any cracks. It is a surprisingly affordable procedure, especially considering the money you won’t have to spend on other repairs further down the line. If potholes have already formed, you can rely on the professionals at M&D paving to give your asphalt the attention it needs.

Contact M&D Paving Today!

Are you ready to start your next paving project? If you want professionals you can trust for high-quality concrete or asphalt paving, look no further than M&D Paving, Inc. We are a third-generation, family-owned, and operated asphalt paving company serving the Maryland area. With over 35 years of experience, we are a licensed, bonded, and insured MHIC member. Contact us online or give us a call at (443)-820-3057 to get a free estimate today.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 4th, 2020 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.