3 Types of Cracks in Asphalt Pavement

An asphalt driveway or parking lot can be a valuable asset as long as it is properly maintained. However, cracks are one of the most common forms of damage that asphalt surfaces exhibit over time.

Property owners often have a hard time understanding the implications of asphalt cracks because each type of crack has its own set of unique causes and repair requirements.

If you want to learn more about this process, classifying asphalt cracks into more specialized categories will give you the ability to better understand the environmental factors that contribute to the cracks in your asphalt driveway or parking lot. Keep reading to learn about a few types of cracks.

Asphalt Cracks

1. Alligator Cracking

If cracks in your paved surfaces create a look more similar to an alligator’s back than a driveway or parking lot, your asphalt has alligator cracks. Also known as fatigue cracks, alligator cracks are one of the most common types of cracks in asphalt surfaces.

Alligator cracking is what professionals refer to as load-related deterioration, and these cracks form as a result of structural deficiencies and exposure to heavy loads. A weakened base material, an asphalt layer that is too thin, overloading of the pavement, or a combination of these environmental factors can all contribute to alligator cracking.

You must invest in immediate repairs once you spot signs of alligator cracking in your asphalt. Without a crack filler or a fresh coat of sealant, alligator cracks will continue to spread and cause further deterioration of your asphalt surfaces.

2. Longitudinal Cracking

Any cracks that extend the length of your paved surface are considered longitudinal cracks. Unlike alligator cracking, longitudinal cracking is not related to the load-bearing capacity of the asphalt.

Longitudinal cracks often form as a result of asphalt contraction when outdoor temperatures drop. Asphalt expands and contracts in response to the temperature it is exposed to. This movement can place a lot of stress on the asphalt, causing longitudinal cracks to form.

Paving professionals can fix longitudinal cracks by applying a crack filler to prevent moisture from infiltrating the asphalt layer and causing the crack to expand. However, large cracks will require the professional to remove and replace the affected asphalt with a more temperature-stable mixture.

3. Block Cracking

Large, rectangular cracks that form in an asphalt surface are known as block cracks. Block cracking can affect a large portion of a paved area, even appearing in areas that see little to no traffic.

Block cracks are not related to load-bearing capacity problems, but can be attributed to temperature fluctuations. Modern asphalt is created from a mixture of aggregates, binders, and fillers. When the binders in an asphalt mixture aren’t capable of expanding and contracting in response to the temperature cycle at the same rate as the aggregates and fillers, block cracks will form.

Repair methods for block cracking depend on the size and severity of the cracks. But a professional can address block cracking that is relatively minor with a fresh application of a sealant.

Block cracks accompanied by raveling, which is when the aggregates from an asphalt mixture loosen, require more comprehensive repair. A paving professional will need to remove the cracked pavement layer and replace it with a fresh cost of asphalt that contains a more stable binding agent.

No matter what form they may take, cracks in your pavement can spell disaster. Cracks create a pathway for moisture to infiltrate your asphalt and pool in the base materials below. This moisture can contribute to the formation of potholes or cause asphalt upheaval over time.

Contact your Asphalt Paving Company

Addressing asphalt cracks quickly is critical to the longevity of your asphalt surfaces. Contact JR Paving & Construction Co., Inc., for help fixing any and all asphalt cracks.