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What Causes Alligator Cracking in Asphalt

driveway cracks

Square Cracks In Your Driveway

“Alligator cracking” is a term within pavement engineering that refers to a particular type of distress or cracking pattern found in asphalt pavements. This type of cracking resembles the skin of an alligator, which is how it gets its name. Typically, a combination of factors contributes to the development of alligator cracking in asphalt pavement. Proper pavement design, construction practices, and maintenance play crucial roles in reducing the occurrence and progression of this distress. Regular inspections and timely repairs are vital for extending the service life of asphalt pavements.

Common causes of alligator cracking.

Frequent causes of alligator cracking in asphalt surfaces are typically attributed to various factors:

 

Excessive Load Bearing: 

This occurs when asphalt surfaces endure heavy loads beyond their designed capacity. Parking heavy vehicles or experiencing continuous traffic stress can lead to alligator cracking due to the excessive pressure exerted on the pavement.

 

Inadequate Pavement Thickness: 

Insufficient thickness of the asphalt layer exacerbates the likelihood of alligator cracking. When the supporting material underneath the asphalt is inadequate, it fails to provide the necessary structural support, leading to premature distress and cracking on the surface. Proper evaluation and adjustment of pavement thickness during construction or maintenance are essential to mitigate this issue.

 

Poor Subgrade Support: 

Weaknesses or inconsistencies in the subgrade, the layer beneath the asphalt, can also contribute to alligator cracking. A compromised subgrade fails to evenly distribute the load, causing stress concentration points and subsequent cracking on the asphalt surface.

 

Improper Drainage: 

Inadequate drainage systems can lead to water accumulation beneath the asphalt, weakening its structural integrity. This water infiltration can exacerbate the effects of other contributing factors, accelerating the development of alligator cracking.

 

Addressing these underlying causes through proper pavement design, adequate thickness, subgrade stabilization, and effective drainage systems is crucial to prevent and mitigate the occurrence of alligator cracking in asphalt surfaces.

mulitple cracks in asphalt driveway

How do you fix alligator cracks in asphalt?

Repairing alligator cracks in asphalt pavement requires careful consideration and proper techniques to ensure long-lasting results. Here are some do’s and don’ts to effectively address this issue:

The Do’s:

  • Assess the Underlying Cause: Understand the root cause of the alligator cracking, such as heavy traffic loads or inadequate pavement thickness, to prevent recurrence.
  • Saw Cut and Remove Damaged Area: Cut out the affected area using a saw to remove the cracked pavement thoroughly.
  • Inspect and Correct the Base: Examine the base beneath the removed pavement for any issues, such as weak subgrade or inadequate support. Correct any deficiencies found to ensure a stable foundation for the new pavement.
  • Apply Proper Repair Techniques: Use appropriate repair methods, such as hot mix asphalt or infrared repair, to fill and seal the removed area effectively.
  • Regular Maintenance: Implement a proactive maintenance plan, including crack sealing and routine inspections, to prevent future alligator cracking and extend the lifespan of the pavement.

The Don’ts:

  • Avoid Temporary Solutions: Refrain from merely filling in the alligator cracks with patching products, as this provides only a temporary fix and does not address the underlying issues.
  • Neglecting Base Inspection: Do not overlook the importance of inspecting and correcting the base beneath the damaged pavement, as neglecting this step can lead to recurrent cracking.
  • Use of Improper Materials: Avoid using low-quality or incompatible repair materials, as they may not provide adequate adhesion or durability, leading to premature failure.

Following these guidelines and employing proper repair techniques, you can effectively fix alligator cracks in asphalt pavement and ensure its long-term performance and durability. For professional assistance and expert repair services, contact Kleen Seal today.

A Kleen Seal driveway After sealcoating in Highland Park NJ

Should asphalt cracks be sealed?

Exploring the Importance of Asphalt Crack Sealing. Sealing is a vital aspect of pavement maintenance that significantly contributes to preserving the integrity and longevity of asphalt surfaces. At Kleen Seal, we emphasize the significance of crack sealing and offer insights into its importance, timing, and execution.

Why Seal Asphalt Cracks?

  • Prevents Water Intrusion: Sealing cracks effectively seals out water and moisture, preventing them from infiltrating the pavement structure. This helps mitigate the risk of water damage, including erosion, freeze-thaw cycles, and subbase weakening.
  • Prevents Further Damage: By sealing cracks promptly, you prevent them from expanding and developing into more extensive and costly damage, such as potholes or alligator cracking.
  • Preserves Pavement Quality: Crack sealing helps maintain the smoothness and appearance of the pavement, enhancing its aesthetic appeal and overall quality.

When to Perform Crack Sealing

  • Spring and Summer Months: Performing crack sealing during the warmer months, particularly in spring and summer, is ideal. The higher temperatures facilitate better adhesion and curing of the sealant, ensuring optimal effectiveness.
  • Timely Maintenance: Crack sealing should be conducted as part of regular pavement maintenance, ideally before the onset of harsh weather conditions or heavy traffic seasons.

How to Seal Asphalt Cracks

  • Surface Preparation: Clean and prepare the crack surfaces thoroughly to ensure proper adhesion of the sealant.
  • Application of Sealant: Apply a high-quality sealant using specialized equipment, ensuring complete coverage of the cracks.
  • Proper Curing: Allow adequate time for the driveway sealant to cure and form a durable, flexible seal that effectively prevents water intrusion and further damage.

Adhering to these guidelines and performing crack sealing in a timely manner, you can preserve the quality and longevity of your pavement. For professional crack sealing services and expert pavement maintenance, contact Kleen Seal.

How do You keep Your asphalt driveway from cracking?

Maintaining Your Asphalt Driveway: Preventing Cracks

To safeguard your asphalt driveway from cracking, regular sealcoating is essential. Applying a fresh coat of sealant every two to three years significantly reduces the risk of cracks. Sealant serves as a protective barrier, shielding your asphalt surface from a myriad of damaging factors, including water infiltration, oil spills, chemical exposure, UV rays, debris, and oxidation.

Why Sealcoating Matters:

  • Prevents Water Damage: Sealant acts as a waterproof barrier, preventing water from seeping into the asphalt and causing structural damage.
  • Protects Against Chemicals: Sealcoating helps resist the harmful effects of oil spills and other chemicals, preserving the integrity of the asphalt surface.
  • Blocks UV Rays: UV radiation can degrade asphalt over time. Sealant provides UV protection, prolonging the lifespan of your driveway.
  • Enhances Appearance: Sealcoating restores the rich, black appearance of asphalt, enhancing curb appeal and overall aesthetics.

How to Apply Sealcoat:

  • Surface Preparation: Clean the surface thoroughly to remove dirt, debris, and any existing sealant.
  • Application: Apply the sealant evenly using a squeegee or sprayer, ensuring complete coverage.
  • Drying Time: Allow the sealant to dry completely before allowing traffic on the driveway.
Hillsborough Driveway after seal coating
By following these maintenance steps and sealcoating your asphalt driveway regularly, you can effectively prevent cracks and prolong its durability and appearance. For professional sealcoating services and expert pavement maintenance, contact Kleen Seal of Fords, NJ, serving Middlesex, Somerset, and Union counties.

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