Why Isn’t My Asphalt Surface Smooth?

We’ve crafted some stellar asphalt pavements over the years. We can easily tell the difference between paving that has been installed with care and paving that has been rushed. One easy way is to look at the asphalt surface texture. If it is not as smooth as you expected, you may be looking at a substandard job.

You can’t rush quality, and if your asphalt surface isn’t smooth then the chances are it wasn’t installed correctly.

Whether it was the mistake of a professional or a DIY project gone wrong, having a bumpy pavement is never a good look.

But wait… surely having smooth asphalt is just an aesthetic thing right?

Is having a smooth asphalt surface important?

If you leave your asphalt surface rough and uneven, rain will seep down into small gaps in the surface. This might not be an issue in the summer months but as soon as the weather turns cold that water is going to freeze and expand.

As the freezing water expands it’s going to push on the asphalt and put a lot of strain on it.

Then, when the ice melts, the strained asphalt will jerk back into position.

Picture a plastic bottle of water. When you place it in the freezer the water expands when frozen and puts pressure on the plastic. If you leave it out to thaw the plastic will return back to the way it was.

If you keep freezing the same bottle over and over again eventually the plastic is going to fracture.

Similarly with the asphalt, there is so much pressure building up and being released night after night that eventually it’ll start to crumble.

Over time, through the process of freezing and thawing, your asphalt is going to break down. You’ll notice cracks appearing on your paving and potholes will start to form as well as dips in your asphalt.

So, yes – smooth asphalt is incredibly important!

But what causes your asphalt surface to be less-than-smooth?

3 reasons why your asphalt surface isn’t turning out smooth.

1. Not enough asphalt to bind the aggregates

When asphalt is in its liquid form it should be a thick and soupy consistency. In this state, the asphalt is used to coat and bind the aggregate together so that it’s solid and sturdy.

The soupy asphalt is poured over the top of the top layer of aggregate to a minimum of 2 inches. If you don’t meet this requirement there won’t be enough asphalt to bind the aggregate together.

If your finished asphalt paving is lumpy and bits are chipping off this could be because there wasn’t enough asphalt used to keep all the aggregate together.

When repaving in the future make sure that you’re using enough asphalt to completely cover and bind the aggregate together.

2. Not enough compaction

If your asphalt isn’t smooth and there are loose rocks scattered over the surface, or if you can kick loose small bits of asphalt or aggregate, it’s very likely your pavement wasn’t compacted properly.

What this means is that when the last layer of your paving was finished, it was just left to dry and wasn’t compacted sufficiently with a roller (or tamper for small patches.)

Asphalt compaction is extremely important because it removes the air from your asphalt. It smooths it out and gets rid of any gaps and bubbles that might have been present beforehand. It’s a difficult process to get right and you’ll only have a small window of time to get the best compaction density for your asphalt paving.

If you’re redoing your asphalt and want to make sure it’s compacted properly you should hire a trained professional to give you a hand.

Here at Murphree paving we’ve got the experts in asphalt paving. Get in contact with our team today and we’ll help make sure your asphalt comes out perfectly smooth.

3. Unsuitable aggregate mix

Having the right aggregate mix plays an important role in your asphalt’s performance. If the mix isn’t correct then the integrity of the asphalt could easily fall apart, leaving you with rough, uneven asphalt.

Your aggregate should be a mixture of crushed rock and smaller particulates (such as sand) so that it can be compacted tightly together.

These rocks shouldn’t be smooth-edged either as smooth rocks will not bind together. If your aggregate is made from rounded stones then it won’t compact easily and there will be gaps in your sub-base. The more gaps there are, the weaker your asphalt paving will be.

Crushed aggregate provides the strength to hold the paving together and without it, your paving isn’t going to stand a chance and it won’t turn out smooth either.

Do you need some help creating a smooth asphalt surface? Get in touch with our team right away and we can help take care of your problem.


At Murphree Paving, we provide high-quality asphalt paving, asphalt repair, and asphalt maintenance to residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial clients. If you’re in need of some help paving your new asphalt driveway then get in touch today.

Call (662) 844-2331 during business hours to get a guaranteed same-day response.

Get in touch with us today for a free quote.

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