When it comes to paving driveways, roads, or parking lots, you have two main options to choose from: ‘rigid’ and ‘flexible’ pavement.
The former is the most commonly used for paving projects (especially roads) and is made of concrete slabs that don’t bend under pressure. Hence the name.
On the other hand, flexible pavement comprises bituminous or asphalt aggregates that can bend and deflect, offering greater adaptability to the elements.
But while rigid pavement structures are highly durable, they are susceptible to deterioration and failure. The causes of failure include poor-quality materials, defects in construction methods, inadequate surface or subsurface drainage, vehicle load, and environmental hazards like storms.
In today’s blog, we list the top four causes why a rigid pavement fails.
Have you ever noticed two joints elevated in the middle or at the edges of a pavement? This is known as ‘faulting,’ which is usually caused by:
- Pavement installation on a weak foundation.
- Erosion of one or more layers of the pavement.
- Curling of the slabs due to moisture or temperature changes.
If you notice faulting on your road or parking lot, call your concrete paving contractor immediately.
Another cause of pavement failure, pumping, refers to the movement or ejection of material from under the slab due to water pressure. When heavy loads pass over the pavement, the slab deflects from the weight. As a result, water accumulated under the slab ‘pumps’ out.
Water can accumulate under the slab due to:
- A high water table
- Faulty drainage
- Poor joint seals
- Panel cracks
Also, remember that water doesn’t always move out from the slab to the surface; it can also move from underneath one slab to another, leading to faulting.
3. Crumbling Edges
Due to excessive pumping, edges of a rigid pavement can crack or break. This can be repaired by replacing the current slab with a new one. But you need to perform a complete asphalt or concrete repair and fully restore the pavement from its depth to ensure such failure never occurs again. Crumbling edges are mostly caused by:
- Excessive pumping that removes underlying support and cracks the pavement
In addition, you should also install parking stops to avoid vehicles being parked on the edges of the paved surface.
Finally, a rigid pavement can also give in to scaling. This occurs when the top layer foreskin of the concrete surface peels or flakes off. Scaling occurs due to:
- Finishing the surface without drying bleed water
- Insufficient curing
- Use of concrete with inadequate air entrainment
- Excessive use of salt deicers
These are the major causes of concrete pavement failure.