Have you ever noticed an alligator cracking in asphalt pavement and wondered what caused it? Alligator cracking, also known as fatigue cracking, is one of the most common types of asphalt pavement failure. This failure occurs when there is repeated traffic loading on a weak-base asphalt mixture. The combination of these factors causes the asphalt to crack and crumble, resulting in alligator cracks.
There are a few ways to repair alligator cracks in asphalt pavement.
The best way to repair alligator cracks is to prevent them from happening in the first place. However, suppose you already have alligator cracks. In that case, you can do a few things to mitigate the damage and extend the life of your asphalt pavement.
How to Prevent Alligator Cracks from Forming?
As discussed, alligator cracks are a result of overloading and weak subgrade. Therefore, the best way to prevent alligator cracks is by ensuring the asphalt mixture is strong enough to support the weight of traffic and by maintaining a solid subgrade.
There are some things you can do to ensure your asphalt mixture is firm enough:
- Use asphalt with a high binder content and add fibers to the mix.
- Use a gap-graded asphalt mix with a larger nominal maximum aggregate size.
To maintain a strong subgrade:
- Ensure proper drainage by grading the subgrade so water drains away from the asphalt pavement.
- Compact the subgrade before asphalt paving.
- Use a strong base course material on top of the subgrade.
Can You Repair Alligator Cracks Yourself?
Home and business owners sometimes try to repair alligator cracks using an asphalt crack filler. They may also try patching with cold or hot-mix asphalt. However, these methods are only temporary fixes that will not last.
- Asphalt crack filler is not designed to fill cracks that are more than a quarter-inch wide.
- Asphalt crack filler will not adhere to the sides of the crack, which means that it will quickly peel away.
- Asphalt crack filler is not flexible, so it can make the crack worse.
The best way to repair alligator cracks is to resurface the asphalt driveway. The process includes removing the top layer of asphalt and replacing it with a new layer. Resurfacing asphalt driveways is not a do-it-yourself job. You must hire a professional asphalt paving contractor for the job.
Should you Seal Alligator Cracks?
Seal coating is an essential part of asphalt maintenance. It protects the pavement from the sun’s UV rays, which can cause asphalt to become brittle and crack.
However, seal coating does not affect alligator cracks. It is because the cause of alligator cracks – dried and cracked asphalt – is below the surface. So, seal coating will not improve the appearance of alligator cracks or prevent them from spreading.
But, once you’ve repaired alligator cracks, you should seal coat the asphalt to protect it from further damage.
Can you Ignore Alligator Cracks for a While?
No, you can’t. Alligator cracks signify that your asphalt is deteriorating. If you ignore them, the asphalt will continue to degrade. The cracks will get bigger and more numerous, and eventually, you’ll have to replace your asphalt completely. Plus, why let the ugliness of fatigue cracking ruin the look of your asphalt when it’s so easy to repair alligator cracks?
It’s always best to permanently repair alligator cracks as soon as possible. By doing so, you’ll save money in the long run, and you’ll also protect your asphalt from further damage.
Since you can’t DIY your way out of a terribly cracked pavement, Scorpion Construction LLC, serving St. Petersburg, FL, is here to assist. We have experience in asphalt crack filling and can restore your asphalt to its original condition.