How serious are cracks in your asphalt pavement, exactly?

The reality is that many people spot cracks in their pavement and think nothing of it. When neglected, however, these cracks can be highly problematic for your asphalt—accelerating the deterioration of your pavement.

Needless to say, cracks shouldn’t be ignored. Here are the six main causes of asphalt cracks, along with some tips on preventing them!

1. Poor Installation

When cracks form shortly after new asphalt has been paved, it’s most often due to poor installation or site issues. Many times, the asphalt mixture or base thickness is inadequate. At other times, the soil itself is unstable.

If your asphalt hasn’t already been paved, make sure you properly vet your asphalt contractor before hiring them for the job!

2. High Temperatures

In West Texas, we’re no strangers to high temperatures. Unfortunately, the summer heat also takes a toll on our pavement. As the sun dries out any moisture from the asphalt, the pavement becomes brittle—causing it to expand and crack.

By sealcoating your pavement every two years, you can keep a protective layer between your asphalt and the sun!

3. Low Temperatures

Just as high temperatures cause asphalt to expand, low temperatures cause it to contract. During the winter months, the continuous cycle of freezing and thawing is likely to leave a trail of cracks riddled across your pavement.

While winter cracking is inevitable, it’s important that you schedule your repairs promptly. Call your asphalt contractor as soon as temperatures begin to rise!

4. Moisture

Water always finds a way to penetrate the surface of vulnerable asphalt. When water reaches the base layer of your pavement, it can wash away the gravel and sand—causing the asphalt surface to shift.

Make sure your pavement is equipped with proper drainage and that any cracks are filled as soon as possible!

5. Pressure

Although asphalt is engineered to accommodate a certain amount of weight, it’s fairly easy to exceed that load—particularly if you own a parking lot and allow access to heavy traffic, equipment, and machinery.

While the amount of traffic your pavement sees might be somewhat outside of your control, be careful not to leave stationary weight in one position for long periods. This can add immense pressure to a single area of your pavement—causing your asphalt to crack as a result.

6. Time

Finally, the cracks in your asphalt might simply be due to the age of the pavement. If your surface is more than 20 years old, you might notice that cracks form more easily—signaling that the end of your pavement’s life is relatively near.

There are many band-aid solutions for aging asphalt, such as maintenance and repairs. However, these should only be viewed as temporary fixes and you should prepare to have your surface fully repaved down the road.

Want to prevent cracks from forming in your West Texas asphalt? Contact Danny’s Asphalt Paving today. We can equip your pavement to better withstand the elements!