Cracks in asphalt driveways aren't just an aesthetic issue. They are a sign of structural problems that could worsen if ignored. Over time, cracks develop into potholes that can damage car suspension systems. Potholes can also cause trip-and-fall accidents and lead to severe injuries. Therefore, if your driveway has cracks, you need to establish the cause and address it immediately. Below are the reasons your asphalt driveway is cracking and what you can do about it.
Continued Stress on the Pavement
Exposure to continued stress can cause asphalt to crack. Stress cracks start as small hairline fissures that are nothing more than a cosmetic concern. Over time, the small cracks widen into large fissures and potholes. Below are the factors that may cause stress on your asphalt driveway.
Seasonal temperature changes
Asphalt driveways expand and contract with changing seasonal temperatures. However, drastic temperature changes can take a toll on the pavement. During the winter, the cold temperatures and freeze-thaw cycles can cause the asphalt to contract rapidly and crack. The cold weather can worsen hairline cracks in the asphalt. Luckily, you can seal-coat the driveway to fix the cracks before they widen.
Heavy vehicle traffic
Continued exposure to heavy vehicle traffic can cause stress cracks in your driveway. When you pack vehicles in the same spot every time, you create weak spots in the driveway. As a result, the driveway will crumble and crack. These cracks let in moisture, widen, and spread to other sections of the pavement. Therefore, avoid overusing the same spots on the driveway, as they will become weak spots. Apply quality sealant to the parts of the driveway exposed to heavy vehicle traffic to fix existing cracks.
Poor Driveway Construction
Your asphalt driveway may crack because of poor construction. If the base isn't prepared adequately, it won't provide adequate structural support to the surface material. As a result, the asphalt surface will start to degrade. Similarly, if the asphalt is not properly mixed or applied in the proper weather conditions, cracks will eventually form on the pavement. These cracks usually occur along the edges of the driveway.
Improper compaction of the asphalt after application can also cause problems down the road. If the asphalt wasn't properly compacted during installation, there could be gaps and bubbles between the layers of material. These gaps and bubbles trap moisture, which weakens the surface and causes cracks to appear. If your asphalt driveway was poorly constructed, you should resurface it to fix the flaws.
Even a properly constructed asphalt driveway can crack because of severe weather. Luckily, you can fix the cracks early and prevent them from developing into potholes. Contact a paving contractor in your area such as All Star Paving, LLC for professional asphalt repairs.