How to Fix a Pothole – and Why You Should

asphalt parking lot potholes and damageLouisiana’s pothole problem is no secret; at least one online drivers’ magazine has listed New Orleans among the top 10 American “worst pothole cities”.

Potholes do not appear instantaneously. As the physical damage grows, so does the cost of repair. For business properties containing an asphalt parking lot, early maintenance and repair can save significant time and money.

What causes potholes?

Timing is everything. The pressure of traffic causes the cracks that lead to potholes, and that allows water penetration of the asphalt. As the temperature naturally fluctuates throughout the year, the water expands and contracts, causing bits of pavement to pop out.

The sponge-like terrain underlying the roads and parking lots of Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and other Louisiana cities amplifies the problem because it allows shifting and settling of the surface. If cracks are not addressed in time, then the potholes will need to be filled.

How to prevent and repair potholes

Best practices to limit pothole damage include:

Seal cracks

Take action in fair weather to fill in any cracks and prevent extensive water intrusion. The method will depend on the size and extent of cracks; many hairline cracks may need a fluid surface seal while larger cracks first need to be cleaned and then coated with a thicker sealant.

Fill potholes

If the parking lot or driveway is in reasonably good condition, it may pay to do a DIY repair. It is not as complicated as it sounds but may be better left to professionals in larger cases:

  • Clean the loose debris out of the holes
  • Remove any vegetation from the area
  • If the hole is deeper than the asphalt, hitting the ground underneath, you may need some dirt, sand, or gravel at the bottom of the hole
  • Heat the inside of the hole – a flame torch will come in handy – to prepare it to accept the patch
  • Pour cold asphalt into the hole, being sure to overfill 1-2”
  • Use a tamping tool to compress the asphalt, adding more cold asphalt it compresses below the surface

Consider a resurface

If the surface is old or in poor condition, a patchy repair may not hold up for long. In that case, it is a good idea to consult with a professional about options such as resurfacing.

The dangers of potholes

As commonplace as potholes may seem, they are a significant cause of injuries. According to federal statistics, more than one in every five emergency room visits is caused by a fall, including a significant proportion of slip and falls. Of slip and fall situations, more than half are due to wet or uneven walking surfaces such as potholes.

In some cases, a slip or trip may lead to minor injuries, but they can also be serious. They can include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Fractures
  • Head injuries
  • Shoulder injuries

When deciding whether to take action regarding a pothole, weighing the potential damage may help put things into perspective.

For those facing the recovery of a an injury involving a pothole, it helps to have the advice of an experienced Louisiana slip and fall lawyer. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, with offices in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, expertly asserts the rights of personal injury victims. Call today to speak with a dedicated legal representative.

Additional “Pothole Repair” Resources:

  1. Asphalt Magazine, Preventing and repairing potholes and pavement cracks,
  2. Newswheel, 10 Worst Pothole Cities in America: New Orleans,
  3. National Floor Safety Institute, Slip & Fall Quick Facts,



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