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What Causes Asphalt to Crack?

Understanding why asphalt cracks can help you to know how to maintain it and keep the cracking from occurring.

Your paved surfaces, from private driveways to business parking lots, are an investment in the safety and convenience of your family, visitors, or customers. As with any investment, you know that it will require work and maintenance as time goes on, but with such a large expense, you expect repairs to be a long time down the road. With asphalt, the biggest sign of deterioration is when it starts cracking. Understanding why asphalt cracks can help you to know how to maintain it and keep the cracking from occurring.

Do You Have Asphalt or Concrete?

The most common materials for paved surfaces are asphalt and concrete, so your surface is one or the other. Both of these materials can experience cracking eventually in their lifetime, but they should have several years of use before any cracking develops. Ultimately, asphalt is more prone to cracking since it is usually installed as a large slab without the joints you’d find in a concrete slab. This doesn’t mean that it should crack right away, however. If your asphalt is only a few years old and it has cracking, there is a problem.

Was The Base Properly Installed?

One of the biggest causes of asphalt cracking is an improperly installed sub base. This is almost always the case if you have cracking in a relatively new asphalt surface. The base is what holds the asphalt layer sturdy and steady, so if it starts to shift, the asphalt will crack in response. Improperly installed bases are usually the result of contractors who chose to cut corners (to save time, money, or both). A reputable contractor is worth the cost since they won’t leave you with this issue. Ultimately this is going to be very expensive to repair, so you are better off paying for a reputable contractor the first time around.

Do You Use Salt?

If you use salt to melt ice and snow on your paved surfaces, you are causing damage to your asphalt. Asphalt is vulnerable during the winter because the freeze-thaw cycle can quickly cause damage. This cycle refers to water that seeps into even tiny gaps in the asphalt, then expands as it freezes, making the gap bigger. When the ice thaws, that water drains further down into the crack doing even more damage when it freezes again. When you use salt to melt ice on asphalt, you make that process happen faster, since ice that wouldn’t have melted on its own does. Sand is a much better option on asphalt: it will provide traction without melting the ice.

Contact M&D Paving Today!

Are you ready to start your next paving project? If you want professionals you can trust for high-quality concrete or asphalt paving, look no further than M&D Paving, Inc. We are a third-generation, family-owned and operated asphalt paving company serving the Maryland area. With over 35 years of experience, we are a licensed, bonded, and insured MHIC member. Contact us online or give us a call at (443)-820-3057 to get a free estimate today.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 30th, 2019 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.