Irregularities You May Notice With Your New Asphalt


When you've just paid for a new coat of asphalt or a brand-new asphalt driveway, you likely expect it to stay pristine for a while. And in a perfect world, it would. But in the real world, you may notice one or more irregularities about your recently installed or resurfaced driveway.

Some of these irregularities could be from recent damage to the new asphalt layer. Others could be from a deficiency in the materials used, a poor foundation, or even incorrect paving techniques.

Discover five irregularities you may notice with your new asphalt and their likely causes.

1. Crescent Cracks

Cracks aren't great for an asphalt surface in the long run, since they can hold water that the freeze-thaw cycle can then drive further into the driveway. Cracks can happen over time by wear and tear, but crescent-shaped cracks from slippage typically occur on new asphalt.

These cracks aren't normal. They're from forces such as gravity or hard braking on the surface of the new driveway and poor quality driveway materials or techniques. Installation factors that can enable slippage are:

  • Low-quality asphalt for the surface

  • Failure of the tack coat that sticks the asphalt layer to the layer beneath

  • Absence of a tack coat because the contractor didn't bother to install one

Any of these factors could mean that your new asphalt layer needs replacing, this time with the correct materials and techniques.

2. Tire Scuffs

Tire scuffs on your new driveway can be unsightly, and you might wonder how to remove them. The good news is that they'll typically disappear on their own, and they're generally just a cosmetic issue rather than a structural problem. Letting the asphalt cure for longer before you drive on it may help reduce or avoid scuffing, too.

3. Ruts or Unlevel Areas

Ruts can be from someone driving on the asphalt surface before it's had the correct number of hours to cure. That could be a delivery driver, a random passerby who needed a driveway to turn around in, or someone else who didn't realize your asphalt is still fresh. Physically blocking cars from the area while it cures can help prevent these accidental damages.

However, if you see unlevel areas that are larger than tire-sized, you may have a deeper problem. The entire driveway may sit on a sub-layer that's too thin to be stable. Another possible reason for unlevel areas is when the site settles unevenly because installers didn’t compress and pack it down correctly before starting.

4. Rough-Looking Patches

Some asphalt mixes are coarser than others, so a coarse-textured surface isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, problems with the installation can also cause an asphalt surface to appear coarser and rougher in some spots. If your new driveway has some sections that look more coarse and rocky than the rest, you could have a problem.

Hot mix asphalt needs to be very hot during installation. If part of the truckload of asphalt wasn't as hot as it should be or if it cooled off too quickly, the mix won't compress properly, and then it won't stick together and adhere to the sub layer well. Instead, the asphalt will ravel (fall apart) and won't last. This problem can cause a rough-looking appearance in the affected areas.

5. Crumbling Surface

If crumbling starts to occur on a new asphalt surface, the materials used are likely at fault. Contractors can sometimes get a bad batch of asphalt material that has too much dry aggregate and not enough of the gluey bonding bitumen to hold it together.

If your driveway was made with a poor-quality material like this, your contractor should come out and replace it with new material from a correctly formulated batch.

Some of these issues may require repairs or may mean you need the original installer to completely redo the job. If your new driveway needs repairs that don’t have coverage from any guarantees, get in touch with a local contractor who has experience diagnosing and resolving a variety of asphalt problems.