If you notice that your asphalt pavement is succumbing to the various damaging elements of the winter season, then you may also notice that not all of the cracks in your pavement look the same. That’s because they’re not. There are actually a variety of cracking patterns that result from different types of pavement failures.
One of the most common ways that asphalt pavement can deteriorate over time is called ‘alligator’ or ‘crocodile’ cracking, which is also called fatigue cracking. Alligator cracks are aptly named because they resemble the dry and fractured skin of their namesakes.
There are a few culprits that are to blame for this type of cracking: use of insufficient foundational materials, a meager drainage system, and harsh weather conditions. Unfortunately, it’s a serious problem for asphalt surfaces as it signals eroding damages underneath. The longer you wait to repair alligator cracks in your asphalt, the more costly repairs will be in the future. Also, taking shortcuts in these repairs isn’t the answer because this will also end up costing you more later on.
Block cracking is interconnected cracks that divide the pavement up into rectangular pieces. Block cracking normally occurs over a large portion of pavement area but sometimes will occur only in non-traffic areas.
This is typically caused by a few different factors. Either the aggregate was too dry when it was originally applied, or it dried out too much over time and needs to be replaced. Low or freezing temperatures can also be to blame as they cause significant shrinkage in the asphalt aggregate. Block cracking can easily be fixed with a thin overlay.
Edge Cracking in Asphalt
Asphalt edge cracking refers to those cracks that start on the side of the road and then spread toward the centre over time. They pose a very big safety hazard for vehicles, which is why asphalt crack repairs should be administered as soon as possible. If left untreated for too long, edge cracking can spread very quickly and lead to other damages.
Longitudinal Cracks in Asphalt Pavement
Longitudinal cracks occur parallel to the centerline of the pavement. They can be caused by: a poorly constructed joint; shrinkage of the asphalt layer; cracks reflecting up from an underlying layer; and longitudinal segregation due to improper paver operation.
Cold and dry weather conditions can often exacerbate the issue, causing linear cracks to form. They can easily be repaired with sealant.
These are perpendicular cracks that occur due to a combination of things, mainly extremely low temperatures and overuse of the pavement. Transverse cracking usually happens on main roads or in high-traffic parking lots and plazas. Cold temperatures cause the aggregate to shrink, which starts the cracking process and the weight of all the vehicles constantly driving on the pavement widens the cracks more.
Reflective Cracking in Asphalt
Reflective cracking usually signifies that there is a much deeper issue below the surface. These are cracks that extend from the foundational layer of the asphalt and make their way to the top layer. Once again, this can easily be fixed with crack filler.
Slippage cracks have a crescent shape and they should be dealt with immediately because they can quickly turn into large and dangerous potholes, especially if your parking lot has a constant high volume of traffic. This type of cracking usually occurs if the asphalt aggregate has a high sand content, which prevents it from aptly bonding to the other materials in the composite. Depending on the size of the crack and the extent of the damage, you can either use partial or full-depth patch-up to correct this issue.
If you notice your driveway needing the expert hand of a professional, contact Richmond Blacktop. With asphalt driveway maintenance Vancouver, we can help you with anything from small crack repairs in your home’s driveway, to large sealcoating jobs at your company’s parking lot. Contact us to get a free estimate and get started!