An asphalt driveway has a number of fine qualities, including its visual appeal, longevity, and comparatively low cost. However, just like virtually every other type of paved driveway, an asphalt drive can subside, which is another way of saying that it can sink. Subsidence can be caused by a number of things, but the most common causes are poor installation, decomposing vegetation trapped in the underlying soil, leaking or broken utility lines, neglected repairs, and poor drainage.

How Might a Poor Installation Cause an Asphalt Driveway to Subside?

When paving Austin TX driveways, an asphalt contractor must pay careful attention to the construction of the base. The base supports the pavement so that it can withstand the loads that will be placed upon it. If an Austin residential paving contractor miscalculates the proper depth of the base, or if the base is insufficiently compacted, subsidence can occur.

How Might Decomposing Vegetation Lead to the Subsidence of an Asphalt Driveway?

If the soil beneath Austin residential paving contains an excessive amount of either living or dead vegetation, the stumps, tree roots, or other vegetative matter will decompose over time. This allows the soil to settle, and the pavement will sink as settling occurs.

How Might Utility Lines Cause Residential Paving to Subside?

In many neighborhoods across Texas, sewer lines and water mains are installed underground along what is known as the easement. If these lines rust, break, or suffer damage from overloading, they can leak. The soil and the driveway base can become eroded, allowing the pavement to sink.

How Might Neglected Repairs Lead to Driveway Subsidence?

Asphalt pavements can crack from exposure to repetitive freezing and thawing cycles, oil and other vehicle fluids, and ultraviolet radiation. Unfortunately, asphalt does not possess magical properties that allow it to heal itself. Instead, cracks continue to expand in all three directions. The wider, deeper, and longer they grow, the more water they allow to penetrate beneath the surface. The water will eventually cause base and soil erosion that can cause potholes, alligator cracking, and small depressions that your paving contractor may call birdbaths. The foundation becomes increasingly destabilized, losing its ability to support the pavement. Widespread subsidence can occur, often encompassing the entire driveway.

Can I Prevent My Asphalt Pavement From Sinking?

Not all causes of subsidence are preventable, and some causes could be expensive to correct. However, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that you are doing everything that you can to avoid pavement subsidence.

  • Sealcoat your driveway periodically. Sealcoating screens out ultraviolet radiation, slows damage from automotive fluids, enhances the pavement’s water-resistant qualities, and returns faded asphalt to its original color. Ask your paving contractor to recommend the correct interval between treatments.
  • Keep your driveway clean. Remove grass clippings, dead leaves, piles of dirt, loose gravel, and trash promptly. Clean up oil, gasoline, and other petrochemicals that have leaked onto your driveway.
  • Inspect your driveway a couple of times a year to locate cracks while they are still small. As part of your inspection, look for signs of improper drainage, including puddles of water that linger long after the rest of the pavement is dry.
  • Have your driveway installation and maintenance performed by a trustworthy contractor. You want an experienced company that will stand behind its work.
  • Avoid placing heavy, stationary loads on your driveway if you did not ask your Austin residential paving contractor to engineer your pavement for such loads.
  • Do not delay repairs. Once a break appears in the surface of your driveway, your pavement can suffer major damage in a relatively brief time.
  • Watch for signs of a broken or leaking utility line. An unexplained increase in your water bill could be one sign, but another sign could be an inexplicable patch of wet or soggy ground on the easement above the water mains or sewers.

Whether you need residential paving or repair, RDC Paving can assist you. Our services include driveway paving, asphalt overlays, asphalt crack repairs, asphalt paving, sealcoating, asphalt milling, concrete installation, asphalt repairs, and concrete repairs. We also offer parking lot striping and parking lot maintenance. Our service areas include Austin, Killeen, Georgetown, Round Rock, Pflugerville, San Marcos, Leander, and Cedar Park. We have an exemplary reputation for craftsmanship, professionalism, service, and integrity. For a free estimate, submit our request form online; if you prefer, you can also call 512-920-9155.