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Do You Have Ripples On Your Asphalt Pavement?

Key Takeaways:

  1. Homeowners may notice ripples on their pavement, which can be caused by poor drainage, heavy traffic, or extreme weather conditions.
  2. There are two types of ripple pavement: corrugation and shoving.
  3. Corrugations form perpendicular to the direction of travel due to inadequate compaction or surface preparation during construction, whereas shoving forms horizontally due to excess traffic in certain areas.
  4. Other causes include weak sub-grade compaction, poor installation practices, and vehicle damage from heavy loads over time. Temperature changes can also lead to expansion and contraction, creating surface ripples.
  5. Solutions such as seal coating, milling overlays/inlays, and patching help restore an asphalt’s beauty while preventing further deterioration of its condition.
  6. Professional contractors have access to better tools for quickly identifying potential issues with pavements, so homeowners need to hire them instead of trying DIY solutions when repairing damaged asphalt surfaces.

When you see that your pavement has ripples running through it, you might think it could be a trick of the light, but as you walk closer, you realize they are real and unsightly. They make your driveway surface look old and worn out. But appearance is not the only problem. They are a nightmare for Home Owner Association (HOA) and municipality members as they are safety hazards for residents.

Various factors, such as poor drainage, heavy traffic, and extreme weather conditions, can cause ripples on asphalt pavements. And if left unaddressed, they can further deteriorate the pavement and even become a safety hazard.

Action Construction Asphalt & Concrete will explore the causes of rippled pavements and the solutions available to keep your driveway or street looking smooth and new. We’ll also examine why you should call in a professional instead of dealing with uneven pavement surfaces yourself. So read on to uncover the secrets of keeping your asphalt surface level and smooth for years to come.

What is Rippled Pavement?

A ripple is a deformity on the asphalt or concrete surface. It typically appears as waves that rise and fall from one side of the pavement to another, resembling the appearance of an ocean swell.

What are its Forms?

1. Corrugation

Poor construction and maintenance practices, such as inadequate compaction or surface preparation, cause this ripple pavement. They appear perpendicular to the direction of travel. It mainly occurs at the start and end of traffic.

2. Shoving

Shoving is the byproduct of excess traffic in certain areas. These ripples usually form horizontally to the direction of travel and range from a few inches to several feet in length, depending on the severity. They appear as bulging waves of asphalt on the pavement surface.

Factors that Cause Ripple Pavement

Now that we’re aware of the forms of ripples that can form on asphalt surfaces, let’s look at the causes that lead up to it:

1. Weak Sub-grade Compaction

Asphalt driveways are intricate structures that require several layers to be formed correctly. The initial layer is the subgrade, made up of the soil beneath the asphalt pavement, and should be 12 inches thick to support its second layer, known as a sub-base, adequately. If this excavation isn’t deep enough, though, material from this second stage can fall into it, creating dips and ripples on your driveway’s surface over time.

2. Poor Drainage

It is crucial to have proper drainage systems installed below the pavement to protect water from seeping and contributing to the formation of ripples.

3. Natural Settling

Asphalt is a sturdy material. Almost 94% of U.S. roads use asphalt paving. They have a long lifespan of up to 15-30 years. But the pavement isn’t immune to natural settling without proper maintenance after a few years of installation, creating small bumps on its surface as the layers shift over time. If reacting quickly enough, these issues can be easily remedied with simple maintenance work, such as adding more material or sealing any cracks that may appear.

4. Poor Installation Practices

When it comes to laying down new asphalt driveways, people tend to make mistakes. Poor quality material and not considering the base layer or drainage systems can lead to ripples appearing on asphalt pavement.

5. Vehicle Damage

Vehicles, especially those carrying heavy loads, can cause damage over time if they are repeatedly driven across the same area. This wear-and-tear can eventually cause small asphalt surface ripples, often requiring repairs.

6. Temperature Changes

The asphalt surface is highly susceptible to temperature changes, which can cause them to expand and contract at different times throughout the year. This repeated expansion and contraction can eventually create ripples on your asphalt surface, especially if there is a lack of support beneath the pavement.

 Solutions to Make your Asphalt Good as New

1. Seal Coating

It will protect your asphalt from future rippling and help fill in small cracks and reduce the overall wear and tear on the surface.

2. Milling

If your asphalt has deep ripples, milling may be necessary to remove some of the damaged material. It can create a smooth surface for a new layer of asphalt to be laid down.

3. Overlays

An overlay involves laying down a fresh layer of asphalt over an existing surface, covering up any existing damage while creating a brand-new driving surface.

4. Inlays

Inlays are similar to overlays but involve digging out a portion of the existing asphalt and replacing it with new material. This process is often used for repairing severely damaged or deteriorated pavement surfaces.

5. Patching

If your asphalt has small ripples scattered across its surface, patching may be an appropriate solution. By filling in any cracks or gaps in the pavement, the surface can be made flat again without having to lay down a whole new layer of asphalt.


Why Hire a Professional For Asphalt Repair or Replacement?

Hiring a professional is essential for repairing or replacing damaged asphalt. DIY solutions are often ineffective and can cause more problems down the line. By hiring a professional contractor, you can ensure that your project is completed correctly and on time. Professional contractors have access to the latest tools and technologies, which help them quickly identify any potential issues with your pavement. In addition, they can provide advice on how best to repair or replace your asphalt to maximize its lifespan. With their expertise, you can enjoy a beautiful, long-lasting driving surface for years.

Related: Asphalt Repair Alert: Common Causes Of Pavement Failure


Ripples in asphalt pavement can be caused by various factors and should be addressed immediately. Hiring a professional contractor ensures that your project is completed correctly and on time, allowing you to enjoy a beautiful, long-lasting driving surface for years. So if you’re noticing any ripples in your asphalt pavement, investigate the cause and get it fixed as soon as possible!

Ensure Level Pavement with Action Construction Asphalt & Concrete in Houston, TX

At Action Construction Asphalt & Concrete, we understand that asphalt and concrete surfaces require regular maintenance to ensure they last. We specialize in pavement installation, repair, and seal coating services throughout Houston, TX. Our team is experienced in the latest rippled pavement repair and restoration techniques. With years of experience installing top-quality asphalt products, we can help you restore your pavement’s appearance with a fast and dependable solution. Contact us today to get a quote.