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What Are The Different Types Of Asphalt Cracks?

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Cracking is perhaps the most common problem that affects asphalt driveways. An asphalt driveway will crack when the stress exerted on its surface is greater than its strength.

There are several types of cracks that can develop on an asphalt driveway, depending on the distress mechanism that causes the crack. Understanding the different types of cracks and their treatments is important for homeowners who value their asphalt driveways.

Fatigue Cracks

Fatigue cracks are often referred to as alligator cracks because they assume a pattern that closely resembles that of an alligator's skin. Fatigue cracks on an asphalt driveway occur due to the action of repetitive traffic loads on the driveway surface.

Development of fatigue cracks is an indication of structural failure within an asphalt driveway. If left unattended, fatigue cracks may develop into potholes, or they may cause disintegration of the driveway. Structural failure in an asphalt driveway cannot be remedied through DIY crack sealing or filling. Dealing with fatigue cracks will therefore require the intervention of a professional asphalt contractor.

Longitudinal Asphalts Cracks

True to their name, longitudinal asphalt cracks run along the length of the asphalt driveway. Longitudinal cracks may be a result of recurring traffic loads or thermal stress on the asphalt surface.

Longitudinal asphalt cracks will commonly emerge at the joints connecting adjacent travel lanes on the driveway. These cracks are also often associated with poor adhesion or stripping on the asphalt driveway. Treatment of longitudinal asphalt cracks can be done through the application of crack sealants.

Transverse Asphalt Cracks

A transverse crack will develop perpendicular to the driveway's centreline or in a laydown direction. These cracks are caused by environmental factors that induce shrinkage of the asphalt when temperatures are low. Transverse asphalt cracks will penetrate through the entire asphalt layer and have a tendency to get significantly wider if left unattended. Treatment of transverse cracks on an asphalt driveway can be done through the application of crack sealants. In situations where transverse cracks are significantly deep, crack filling should be done before the application of sealant to reduce the amount of sealant required for the job.

Edge Cracks

Edge cracks can assume a crescent shape, or they can be continuous cracks intersecting an unbound driveway edge. An edge crack on an asphalt driveway may be as a result of shear failure, traffic overloads, or erosion of the driveway shoulder. Edge cracks cannot be remedied through the application of sealants. Their emergence on the driveway therefore creates the need for professional intervention.

For more information about repairs for your driveway, contact local asphalt contractors