What's the Difference Between a Pothole and Crack?

April, 09, 2021 By CASSIDY PAVING 3 min read
Cassidy Paving repairing an asphalt crack in New England
If you are familiar with asphalt paving services, you've likely heard about the hazard of cracks in your asphalt or the liability issues you may face from a large asphalt pothole in your residential driveway or commercial parking lot. Cassidy Paving sees cracks and potholes on asphalt every day, and we spend a lot of time educating our customers on the differences and repair processes to fix them. Asphalt cracks and potholes are not one and the same, but they do have some similarities. In order to understand the proper steps to take to make the right repairs, you'll need to understand what to look for.

What to Know About Potholes and Asphalt Cracks

What Is Asphalt Cracking?

Asphalt cracking is a common form of asphalt distress. No doubt, you’ve seen the tell-tale patterns of asphalt cracking at some point. Generally, you can spot cracks as interconnected areas of deterioration. There are several forms that a crack can take, such as:
  • Fatigue
  • Block
  • Edge
  • Longitudinal
  • Transverse
  • Reflection
  • Slippage
These are all caused by a combination of load-related issues and the temperature/environment. According to Asphalt Magazine, “crack filling is done with liquid asphalt, cutbacks and asphalt emulsions and is considered temporary work.” When you work with us for asphalt crack repair, you should understand that these won’t last forever. You’ll want to implement a more permanent repair plan, which will depend on how large and widespread your cracks are.

What Is a Pothole?

Asphalt Magazine defines a pothole as “bowl-shaped holes caused by the localized disintegration of the pavement surface.” Even if you have little experience with asphalt services, you likely understand that potholes often appear after unfavorable weather conditions. But they're also a result of continued distress, such as overloading or subbase failure and the long-term neglect of smaller cracks. The potholes form in the weak spots in the various layers of aggregate and asphalt base as well. Any combination of foundational failure can cause potholes even in a short amount of time. Potholes also happen when precipitation on the surface does not have a place to go. The water on the blacktop surface will enter through to the weakened base. If your asphalt pavement doesn’t have proper drainage, you will see an increased amount of potholes throughout the area. Potholes can be repaired through patching if there are just a few issues throughout the area or through asphalt milling. Patching and milling are pothole repair options that repair just the spots that need it and to the specific depth of the pothole. Our experts can inspect your property to understand what level of repairs you will need.

How Are They Related?

Cracks are often the first sign that something is wrong with your asphalt pavement. An ignored crack is a pothole waiting to happen. Although crack repair is often simple and low-maintenance, you shouldn’t wait to repair it. Pothole repairs are more invasive and can take longer, costing you more time and money.

Get Help Today!

If you’d like to get your asphalt cracks or potholes taken care of before they spread, give Cassidy Paving a call today at 866-978-9788 to discuss asphalt pavement maintenance. We provide asphalt services across New England and estimates are always free and available year-round.
Filed Under: Asphalt

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Based in Haverhill, MA, Cassidy Paving is a commercial paving company serving southern NH and Massachusetts.

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