It’s no secret that cracks in asphalt surfaces allow water to penetrate the surface, softening the stone base. As a result, it can lead to alligator cracking/spider webbing, pot holes, and other forms of degradation. Left unfilled, cracks will allow rain and moisture to flow through pavement and erode base materials resulting in potholes and ultimately in premature failure. Cracks left over the winter can grow quickly due to snow plowing and the freeze/thaw cycle. In warm and sunny climates, oxidation and humidity have a similar effect. Consequently, patching often doesn’t last and can cost several times what timely crack-sealing costs. In the end, the useful life of the surface is shortened, forcing the premature and costly replacement of the surface.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the cracking of asphalt pavement. The most common include:
- Surface/Shrinkage Cracks – Caused by lack of traffic, extreme temperature changes, excess water and/or ultraviolet degradation.
- Structural/Reflective Cracks – caused by vertical or horizontal movements of pavement beneath, due to expansion and contraction with temperature and moisture changes.
- Joint or seam cracks – caused by weak seam or improper pinch roll.