What Causes Asphalt Cracking?

June 28, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

Nature takes its toll on asphalt. Praised for its affordability and aesthetic, asphalt nevertheless falls prey to the natural elements, as well as human error like excessive wear and poor installations. The good news is a few small cracks here and there are easily remedied with asphalt repair.

Take a look at which factors deteriorate asphalt and how a sealcoating contractor can fix the damage.

Heat from the sun

Sunlight bears down on pavement all year long. While excessive moisture can damage asphalt, pavement needs an appropriate level of moisture in order to maintain its flexibility. Over time, heat will make the surface layer brittle and prone to cracks. Dried asphalt is more likely to crack from vehicle and foot traffic.

Sunlight exposure is unavoidable; however, you can reduce the risk of cracking with a sealcoat. A sealcoating treatment will restore the asphalt’s flexibility and help it resist the drying effects of the sun. Schedule an appointment with your local sealcoating contractor so that your driveway can receive the best quality possible.

Heavy vehicles

The surface of asphalt gradually breaks down when heavy loads are left stationary for long periods of time. Excessive weight from parked trucks, trailers and RVs creates pressure on a localized spot, causing the asphalt to sag and develop cracks. Some roads are designed for smaller vehicles only and will crack if load-bearing trucks frequently drive on it.

Unlike exposure to sunlight, excessive and/or stationary weight is easy to avoid. Move parked vehicles on a regular basis, so their weight is evenly distributed throughout the pavement. This will reduce the need for asphalt repair and extend the lifespan of your driveway.

Rainwater and runoff

Water is the biggest threat to asphalt. Moisture starts to penetrate asphalt’s surface layer as soon as the installation is complete. Rainwater leaks into the smallest fissures, expanding over time and causing the asphalt to crack even more. Water eventually trickles into the foundation where it washes away sand and gravel. This creates an unstable base layer, which in turn causes the asphalt to shift and crack.

It’s impossible to stop moisture from entering the asphalt altogether. However, repairing small cracks early on can minimize overall damage and spare you the cost of installing a whole new driveway. Ask a sealcoating contractor to fill cracks before they grow larger and create a system that directs runoff away from the pavement.

Shifts in the ground

The ground experiences natural shifts year-round. Ground movement occurs during frost-and-thaw cycles as well as long periods of rain or drought. Soil with a high concentration of clay is also more prone to shifting. When the ground shifts, it disrupts the base layer of sand and gravel. Unstable foundations cause asphalt to crack. While ground movements are unavoidable, a good contractor can restore your driveway back to its original state.

Asphalt will eventually reveal signs of wear and tear. With a little bit of preventative maintenance, homeowners can keep damage to a minimum and get the most out of their driveway installations. The professionals at Sunstar Seal Coating, Inc. specialize in asphalt repairs, so you never have to worry about faded or cracked pavement again.

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