Cracks in asphalt are fairly common, but if you keep up with repairs, your driveway can still have a long life. Cracks appear in different ways, and one of the more serious types of cracking is what's known as alligator cracking. Here's why these cracks develop, why they need to be repaired promptly, and the ways repairs might be done.
Why Alligator Cracks Develop
Alligator cracks are often the result of problems with the base under the asphalt. This might be due to improper installation of your driveway, and if so, the alligator crumbles may appear in the first few years after your driveway was installed. The cracks can also develop if a heavy truck uses your driveway and the asphalt can't support its weight. Alligator cracking can also come about when a regular crack or small pothole is not repaired promptly. Rain will flow through holes and cracks and affect the base under the asphalt, and when that happens, the base can't support the driveway properly and alligator cracks develop.
Why Alligator Cracks Need To Be Repaired Quickly
Alligator cracks get worse over time. Rain seeps through the cracks and causes the damage to expand. The longer you put off repairs, the more expensive the work will be. Also, alligator cracks can be wide and deep. These large cracks create a trip hazard on your property that might make you liable for someone's injuries.
How Alligator Cracks Are Repaired
There are three levels of alligator cracking. The first is when small parallel cracks appear. You might be able to slow down the damage by having asphalt patch put on these cracks. Applying patch to alligator cracks is usually just a temporary measure since the underlying problem is with the base and a patch doesn't address that issue. However, a patch can buy some time until you need to have full asphalt repairs done.
The next stage of alligator cracking is when new cracks appear that cross-link the parallel cracks. These cracks might be shallow enough that a patch can provide temporary repairs. The third stage of cracking is when the cracks are deep and individual crumbles develop. Sections of asphalt may even break loose. While it might be possible to try a patch for these deep cracks, it might just be a waste of money. At this point, it is necessary to cut out the damaged portion of asphalt and make repairs to the base so the damage stops. Once the base has been prepared, new asphalt is poured on and the problem with alligator crumbles is eliminated.
For more information, contact an asphalt repair service.