Driveway cracks and potholes are undeniably a nuisance. An uneven driveway riddled with cracks and potholes is an eyesore that could even pose a danger to your car’s tires and even to those just passing by. The thing is, these holes all started as small hairline cracks wherein the sub-base just gradually caved in.
One of the more common and popular issues with having an asphalt driveway is “Alligator cracks”. Alligator cracks are cracks that look similar to the scales of an alligator. These are typically interconnected large fissures that could worsen over time. Cracks of this magnitude can indicate major problems such as a base failure, a drainage problem, overloading, or a mix of all these issues.
To better understand how you can protect your driveway from alligator cracks, you should also know about the things that can cause your pavement to break, sink, or split.
Things that Causes Your Pavement to Crack:
Water seepage is one of the most prominent reasons for base failure. Water that infiltrates your pavement wears down the base material washing away the gravel and base underneath. In turn, the top surface layer will then begin to crumble, disintegrate, or split. For this reason, your driveway must be installed like an inclined plane to draw away standing water. Another solution that you can do to protect your asphalt driveway is to sealcoat it to add an extra protective layer.
- Freeze and Thaw Cycle
The freeze-and-thaw cycle is a natural process that happens due to changes in weather. For instance, the water that has penetrated through the asphalt surface would seep through the base and stay there until it freezes in the winter and expands, thereby causing the material to swell and stretch until it splits. Once the winter season is over, the ice melts back to water and that’s when the rifts and holes become more visible.
- Old Age
If your driveway has been around for ages and you’ve done multiple repairs already that the patches are so easy to notice and that no matter how many times you patch it up, another crack just seems to appear out of nowhere, it’s more probably because it has reached the end of its life. An asphalt driveway is expected to last you around 15 – 20 years and even in between those periods, you could expect its performance and durability to dwindle.
Excessive weight and foot traffic can strain your pavement. The amount of weight that your driveway can carry without cracking will depend on the driveway material used, the depth of the material, and the process utilized in paving your driveway which brings us to the fifth reason why asphalt pavements crack even before it reaches the end of its lifespan.
- Poor Installation
A lot of driveways that experience early base failure is caused by improper installation. If your driveway contractor has used lightweight materials to save time and money on the project, the result is a poorly installed driveway that can easily break in a short period of time or when applied excessive uneven pressure. Furthermore, the installation method is also important as well as the equipment to make sure that your asphalt pavement has a solid foundation.
Now that you understand the factors that can cause your driveway to break, let’s move on to how you can repair your driveway if it’s already suffering from cracks.
Repairing Cracks in Your Driveway
Driveway repairs can be costly depending on the extent of the damage. Fortunately, small cracks can still be a DIY project. However, alligator cracks, on the contrary, should be handled by professionals most particularly if the magnitude of the damage is so severe that it could have affected your asphalt’s base. Patching up your driveway with major alligator cracks may only be a short-term solution that would definitely cost you more in repairs over time.
- Clean your driveway
If you’re planning to repair your driveway, always clean it first by removing any form of obstruction such as debris of loose and broken asphalt materials located near the cracks, dirt, weeds or algae that could be growing on the surface of your pavement. You can use either a leaf blower, chisel brush, broom or a vacuum to do this. Next, scrub off oil, grease, and any stain that has adhered to your pavement using a cleaning agent.
Now that the area is clean, it’s time for a repair! You can now fill in the gaps using a crack filler. As for potholes and other depressions on your driveway, you can repair it using an asphalt cold patching material. Carefully pour it onto the pothole and spread it evenly using a trowel or a putty knife until it reaches the leveled surface. Ensure that the patch is flat and smooth and then use a metal tamper to further flatten it out. Lastly, allow the patch to dry for at least 24 hours.
- Seal the Driveway
Before sealing your driveway, be sure to clear again the surface of any oil, dirt, grease, and debris. Use a cleaning agent to wash off the area of stains and dirt spots that you weren’t able to get the first time. After which, rinse off the pavement but make sure that you have removed any standing or puddled water off the surface. Finally, allow the sealant to cure for 24 hours.
- Seek Professional Help
For alligator cracks or those large fissures on your pavement, again, it would be wiser and more cost-efficient to let a professional paving company handle the situation. The reason is that you have no idea how severe the damage could be and you lack the necessary know-how, tools, and machinery to equip you with this kind of repairs. Moreover, the rule of thumb for driveway repairs is that as long as the damage hasn’t reached the foundation of the asphalt, you can still opt for a resurfacing. On the contrary, once it has affected the base, you have to automatically replace the whole driveway otherwise, it will cost you much more repairs in the long run.
Author:: Albert Cooper is a well-known blogger from California. He is a writer of several contents in different niches. All of his contents are welly ranked on Google. You can find all of them to using this keyword- “Author Albert Cooper”. You can find him through Facebook as well as twitter or p-interest.