Why Does Asphalt Crack?

When you’ve just had a new asphalt parking lot poured, you expect it to last a long time. However, you may find that your asphalt lot can begin to crack for a variety of reasons. You did everything right! Right temperature to pour it, right company, and you take care of maintenance right away–so what’s the problem? Well, there are quite a few ways that concrete can crack or be damaged and there are quite a few reasons why that happens.

Too Much Weight on the Surface

Crack FillingOne way that concrete can crack is when a heavy vehicle or object drives or is placed onto the asphalt parking lot surface. This causes a very distinctive type of cracking called alligator cracking. The cracking will branch out and look like alligator skin. This is due to the cracking usually radiating from a middle point where the weight was the greatest. If you see this type of cracking, that is most likely what it is from. This type of cracking can’t be prevented without a sturdy base unless you are very careful about the weight of vehicles driving into your lot. Move heavier vehicles around in the lot to prevent cracking.

Soil Changes and Shifting Soils

Not all soils are equal or compacted equally. Some soils, like clay, can retain water and cause shifting which can cause damage to your asphalt surface. You can see this with either the appearance of cracking or with divets/waves in the surface. These are most visible when it has rained and water pools there. The original pour should have taken into account the clay soil. From there, they must create a sturdier base through supports that would not “shift” over time. Soil changes like excess moisture or drought can also cause problems with your asphalt parking lot. The soil will pull away from the edges of the asphalt and cause problems like cracking and damage. Cracks can let in water and cause even more damage to your surface.

Improper Maintenance

Asphalt Sealcoating and Crack FillingWhile asphalt does last a long time, if it is not maintained properly it will not last nearly as long as it could. Asphalt parking lots should be sealcoated about once every 2 years, and they should have any potholes or other issues filled and resolved. This keeps you from having to spend money repouring or repairing the entire lot when all you needed to do was give it a little TLC every year. Make sure that all dust, dirt, and debris is swept out of the lot and that weeds and roots are taken care of. Not only does this leave your lot looking like a million bucks, but it also helps with longevity. Issues like potholes and cracks cause even worse damage to your lot when they fill with water. This can cause even more cracking. Plus, they can be a liability issue with damage to cars or physical damage through tripping and falling.

Do You Have Cracked Asphalt?

If you have a cracked asphalt parking lot, it’s time to get it fixed! Once the winter begins, water will get into the cracks in your asphalt and then freeze. When water freezes, it expands. This is why spring brings so many potholes and large cracks when the snow and ice melt. The time is now! If you’re debating on it, take this as a sign! Give AAA Parking Lot Maintenance a call today.