What Causes Asphalt Cracks

Although asphalt pavement is the least expensive to install, it can still represent a sizable investment. Property owners and managers are sometimes chagrined to find cracks in their asphalt pavement, and they naturally wonder why the cracks developed. There are several possible reasons for cracking to occur.

What Causes Asphalt Cracks – The Reasons Why

Sun Damage

The UV rays emitted by the sun rob asphalt pavement of its moisture, making it dry and less flexible. This makes the pavement more susceptible to cracking under normal traffic loads. The sun is also the culprit causing the color of your pavement to fade. Fortunately, sealcoating functions like a sunscreen for asphalt pavement, keeping it from drying out and refreshing the color. New sealcoating should be applied about every two years or at the intervals recommended by your sealcoating professional for your particular pavement.

Heavyweight Vehicles

Heavyweight vehicles can crack asphalt pavement if the pavement was not built to take the load. For example, a fully loaded tractor-trailer could do extensive damage to most residential driveways and many parking lots that were only designed for passenger vehicles.

Stationary Loads

Depending on the construction specifications for your asphalt pavement, you might want to keep loads from remaining in one place for an extended time. Whether it is an RV parked in your driveway or a pallet of bricks stored in your parking lot, the load should be moved to a new location periodically. Otherwise, the weight can bear down on the pavement and cause cracks to form. The problem can be exacerbated during the summer months; the heat from the sun can soften the surrounding pavement, making it easier for cracks to form around the stationary object.

Poor Installation

When major cracks develop within the first 18 to 24 months of the pavement’s life, poor installation is often the problem. Perhaps the asphalt contractor did not make the foundation deep enough or compact it properly. The asphalt might not have been hot enough or applied to a sufficient depth.

Poor Soil

The soil underlying the pavement can also be a potential cause of cracking. If the soil is unstable, it can move; clay soil is especially prone to movement as it shrinks when conditions are dry and swells when wet. The movement of the soil will also cause the foundation to move, which in turn allows the pavement to move.

Pressure from Tree Roots

The most common type of damage caused by tree roots is upheaval. The roots grow under the pavement and push it upward; they may also damage the supporting foundation. Sometimes, the roots are more shallow and exert pressure against the sides of the pavement. Tree roots are persistent, and over time, they can exert enough pressure on the pavement to cause cracking.

Water Infiltration

Water infiltration is one of the leading causes of cracked pavement. Whether it comes from rain or a sprinkler system, if water finds a path beneath the pavement, it can destabilize the foundation, allowing the pavement to move and leading to cracks. If the edges of the pavement are damaged or cracks are allowed to go without repair, water infiltration is very likely to occur and asphalt repair will be needed.

Affordable Striping & Sealing is an asphalt maintenance and striping company that provides a full range of services to customers throughout the greater Las Vegas area. We use the best materials, have highly qualified crews and are committed to delivering exceptional results at affordable rates. Affordable Striping specializes in crack filling, sealcoating, parking lot striping, traffic sign installation, bumper blocks, road markings and curb painting. Call us at (702) 222-9009 to request a free quote or complete the online form.

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