What Causes Asphalt to Crack?

July 8, 2019 Published by Leave your thoughts

If you have an asphalt lot or driveway, you’ve likely chosen the material because of its durability, adaptability and longevity. It’s true that asphalt is a great choice for pavement and makes a very durable, affordable and attractive option. However, it is possible for asphalt to crack, and with time, most asphalt will develop cracks and require you to call an asphalt contractor in Phoenix, AZ for repairs. Luckily, with the right maintenance, you can prevent and minimize cracking. Read on to learn more about why asphalt cracks and how to best care for your asphalt lot.

The causes of cracking

Heat from the sun is one of the primary things that causes damage to asphalt, and it’s hard to avoid, as asphalt is commonly exposed to the sunlight and other elements year-round. The sun beats down on asphalt, which absorbs the heat and breaks down. It dries the surface, which can cause it to crack without enough moisture. Once cracks form, it’s a short road to deeper fissures and larger breaks. The weakened driveway will be more susceptible to weight from cars and impacts from other heavy objects.

Moisture is another contributing factor to cracks. While overly dry conditions will create cracks, water can also break down pavement quickly. It washes away gravel and sand that make up the base of asphalt, which causes the surface layer to shift and break. Water seeps into small cracks, which can then freeze in the winter, creating larger fissures. Impact from harsh rain, snow and sleet will also wear away at the surface.

Shifting foundations and gravel can also create cracks. Earthquakes can cause major damage, but even normal seasonal conditions like freezing and thawing can create enough movement to crack asphalt. If installed on a bed of gravel, the gravel is susceptible to movement across the ground underneath, putting strain on the asphalt above and resulting in cracks.

Protecting the longevity of your driveway

Your asphalt contractor in Phoenix, AZ should be able to give you tips about caring for your driveway or lot. Asphalt, when properly lain, should last between 15 and 30 years depending on the conditions it is exposed to, including climate. As soon as you see cracks, you should fill them in, or call your asphalt contractor in Phoenix, AZ for maintenance. Crack sealant will work great for small cracks. Your contractor can apply a patch to larger areas of damage like potholes. However, cracks are quick to form again where they were before, so this is a temporary fix. Make sure to apply a sealant when installed and every few years afterwards to help protect your driveway from damage and help it last longer.

Sunstar Seal Coating, Inc. provides communities in Phoenix, AZ with high-quality asphalt paving, sealcoating and repairs, for commercial and residential lots and driveways. We are locally owned and operated, and fully bonded, licensed and insured for your protection. If you’re looking for an asphalt contractor in Phoenix, AZ for your asphalt installation or repair, give us a call today for a quote!

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