Everything You Need to Know about Alligator Cracking
There’s a good chance that you’ve seen alligator cracks in asphalt. Alligator cracking in asphalt looks like the skin of an alligator. Tiny cracks will begin to form, some of which can be deep while others are more superficial. These cracks will not only ruin the asphalt’s appearance, but will also jeopardize the structural integrity of the asphalt..
If you’re starting to experience alligator cracking in your asphalt, you may wonder what causes it and what you can do about it.
What Causes Alligator Cracking?
Alligator cracking is the most common type of cracking with asphalt. It’s unlikely that any single cause is to blame for your alligator cracking. It is common for asphalt to break for a variety of reasons.
Weight and Heavy Loads
Not all asphalt is the same thickness; the thinner the layer, the more prone to alligator cracking. An event as simple as parking a heavy vehicle on thin asphalt can cause alligator cracking. Weight, in general, will begin to break down the asphalt over time.
You’ll see this occurring in areas where there is heavy traffic. Areas near warehouses or industrial parks often have more patches and cracks than side streets. While heavy loads are a problem, they are not the only cause of alligator cracking.
Drainage and Construction
Alligator cracking will occur if you lay asphalt without proper ground preparation. Cracks can occur due to shifting in the ground or a lack of stability for the asphalt above. That’s why it is vital to have a qualified contractor work for you. Doing it yourself can lead to big problems down the road.
If there’s poor drainage, water will begin to break down asphalt. In cold climates, water can freeze and thaw, creating cracking rapidly. Alligator cracking is the result if the asphalt is not taken care of or sealed every few years.
You may also see plants beginning to invade the asphalt. If weeds or other plants are growing in the cracks, this is a sign that immediate repair is necessary. When the asphalt has degraded or the bed beneath is exposed, prompt repair is the only way to save the pavement.
Alligator Cracking Will Get Worse
Alligator cracking is often superficial and doesn’t undermine the integrity of the asphalt. The issue is that it opens up avenues for more water to get in. This will start to cause deeper damage. It won’t take long before alligator cracks turn into larger, more substantial damage.
The amount of money and time it will take to repair the asphalt will continue to increase. That’s why repairing alligator cracks as soon as you see them is essential. Waiting will only make the problem worse.
Repairing Alligator Cracks
This may leave you wondering how to fix alligator cracking in asphalt. The reality is that there are several options, and the one that works best for you will depend on your situation.
If there’s a small amount of alligator cracking in an area like a personal driveway, it isn’t hard to repair. There is cold mix asphalt and some over-the-counter repair options. Many of these are stop-gap measures that won’t last for more than a couple of years. While it may only last for two or three years, these repairs can help keep the asphalt intact while you save for a more permanent repair. Repairs that are limited to a personal driveway aren’t difficult and won’t take that long to fix.
Hire a Contractor
The other option you have is to hire a contractor. Hiring a contractor is the best option if the area is a parking lot or other heavy traffic area. They can get the repairs done and the site back open for business quicker than you can. They will also be able to tackle larger jobs. Hiring a contractor is often a better solution in the case of extensive damage. The asphalt may need to be removed and repoured, or the ground beneath it may need repair. In either case, it will save you a big headache if a contractor takes care of it.
Your Pavement Is Important
The last thing you want to do is have alligator cracking all over your pavement. Alligator cracking will make the parking lot or driveway look unkempt and run down. If your parking lot has alligator cracks everywhere, it could deter customers or, in the case of private residences, home buyers.
If you find alligator cracking and want to know the extent of the damage you’re dealing with, we can help. CPEX can take care of any job, no matter how large or how specialized it may be. If you are ready to set up your appointment or want a consultation, contact us.