What To Do When You See Cracking In Asphalt
Cracking is a telltale sign of asphalt deterioration. While you might panic at first sight of a crack, it doesn’t mean that your asphalt is unsalvageable or that you are doomed to incur expensive repairs. However, you mustn’t neglect cracking asphalt, as it will only become more costly and dangerous!
Let’s take a deeper look into what causes asphalt cracking and what you can do to fix it.
What Causes Asphalt Cracking?
Asphalt is a popular choice among homeowners and business owners due to its strength & durability. However, over the years, even asphalt can be subjected to damage from aging, weather, temperatures, heavy usage, and other underlying issues.
The most common causes of asphalt cracking are as follows:
- Standing water
- UV damage
- Extreme temperature changes
- Chemical damage
- Bad installation
- Weak edging
Common Types Of Asphalt Cracking
Several types of asphalt cracking exist, each resulting from a different cause. You’ll want to identify the kind of asphalt cracking you are dealing with to find the best fit solution.
Here are some of the most common types of asphalt cracking:
Fatigue cracking is often a result of an overload of weight, poor installation, or lack of subgrade support. Extreme fatigue cracking can signal structural damage, making it dangerous to leave unchecked.
Block cracks are large rectangular cracks caused by either age-related hardening or extreme temperature changes. These cracks are not the result of load-bearing issues. While it depends on the severity, a high-quality sealant can often fix block cracks.
Edge cracks are long linear cracking running alongside the edges of your driveway, parking lot, or road. They are an outcome of faulty edges or a lack of foundational support.
Linear cracks are long vertical cracks, usually in the middle of your asphalt driveway, parking lot, or road. Asphalt fatigue from excessive wear or temperature changes typically causes this kind of cracking.
Temperature changes can cause your asphalt to shrink and expand, often resulting in Transverse cracks. This type of crack runs perpendicularly throughout your driveway or parking lot.
What Can You Do To Prevent Asphalt Cracking?
You can reduce the risk of your asphalt cracking by keeping your driveway or parking lot in the best condition possible. We recommend routine maintenance and preventative care measures.
Preventative asphalt maintenance includes the following:
- Debris removal
- Pressure washing
- Regular cleaning
- Proper drainage
Install a Proper Drainage System
With water being the most significant cause of asphalt cracking, you want to have a properly functioning drainage system. French drains and catch basins are a great option here in the rainy Pacific Northwest. They effectively divert water away from your driveway or parking lot, ensuring it remains clear.
Generally speaking, applying a sealant can help prevent cracking from getting worse. Filler stops water from infiltrating your asphalt and expanding the existing cracks. Sealing cracks early on can save you the stress of your cracking getting worse and turning into a more expensive issue.
After filling your cracks with sealant, you should consider applying a seal coat for an extra layer of protection. A seal coat protects your asphalt against water, oil, and chemical damage, thus reducing the risk of cracking.
How to Fix Asphalt Cracking on Your Driveway or Parking Lot
Depending on the extremity of your asphalt cracking, the solutions range from simple to complicated. If you are dealing with extensive cracking even after preventative measures, now is the time to contact an asphalt paving company for damage repair.
Asphalt repatching is an effective way to fix cracking without the expensive replacement price tag. However, it only works for minor or surface cracks. Patching may not be enough to fix the problem, especially if it’s an underlying foundational issue.
You should contact an asphalt paving company for damage repair if you are dealing with extensive cracking that won’t go away even after sealing and patching. Your driveway or parking lot may need asphalt repaving.
You should consider repaving your asphalt driveway or parking lot under the following circumstances:
- Fatigue cracking
- Standing water
- Extreme potholes & cracking
- Sinking pavement