Discussing Paving Contractor Services

Understanding Alligator Cracks And How Repairs Can Be Made

If you have an asphalt driveway near your home, then you may notice some areas of damage over time as the driveway is consistently used. This is normal. However, the appearance of alligator cracks along the surface of the asphalt is not normal. It is a cause for concern. Keep reading to understand why the cracks form and how a temporary fix can be completed.

Why Do Alligator Cracks Form?

Alligator cracks are numerous small cracks that form in one area of the driveway. The damage often interlocks together to give the appearance of scales or alligator skin. The patterned cracks will typically extend out several feet in one area of the driveway. The cracks will form when the sub-base underneath the asphalt shifts or falls for some reason. Poor drainage underneath the driveway as well as the placement of excessively heavy loads in the area can all contribute to the formation of alligator cracks. Specifically, all of these things place stress on the asphalt. While moderate stress can be absorbed by the driveway and cause the asphalt to flex, large amounts of stress will cause cracks to form. 

How Can The Cracks Be Repaired Permanently?

The only way to permanently restore an asphalt driveway with alligator cracks is to remove and replace the damaged area of the driveway. This will require the cutting of the asphalt with a circular saw fitted with a diamond blade. Once the asphalt is removed, the base underneath will be examined and possibly rebuilt. Stone aggregate will be needed in the area to supply the asphalt with strength and good drainage. Once the aggregate is secured, new and hot asphalt can be flattened in the area. Your asphalt specialist may also advise you to keep heavy RVs, boats, and commercial trucks away from the area so cracking does not occur again in the future. Also, drainage tile near the driveway may need to be added. Click here to learn more about residential paving.

How Can The Cracks Be Fixed Temporarily?

If you do not want to hire contractors to fix the driveway right away, then you can make temporary repairs until you can schedule a more permanent fix. Purchase some cold pour asphalt crack filler material for this. Use a wire brush to remove debris from the cracks and sweep the area with a broom. Shake the bottle of crack filler and then squeeze the material out into each opening along the alligator crack area. Make sure each crack is filled all the way to the top. Smooth the filler with a squeegee if cracks become overfilled. Allow the filler to cure for one day. The material will shrink a small amount as it cures. Add more filler to each crack that is no longer flush with the driveway.