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What Kind Of Crack Is That? Identify The Cracks In Your Asphalt Drive In Order To Identify The Problem And Solution

If you ever played that game when you were a kid where you sang, "Step on a crack, and you'll break your mother's back," then you've probably spent enough time looking at the cracks in the asphalt to realize that they seem to spring up in patterns. But, did you know that the patterns in the cracks can tell you what type of problems your asphalt driveway is experiencing? If you understand the cracks you have in your driveway, you'll be in a better position to understand what you need to do to prevent them from reoccurring. Here are the different types of cracks you may see and what they mean.

1. Edge Cracks

Edge cracks are long, thin cracks that often run along the length of your drive along the outer edge of your driveway. They're usually a sign that you've got poor drainage off your drive, possibly due to a buildup of vegetation. You'll need to clear the borders of the driveway of excess shrubs, built-up leaves, or other vegetation and seal the cracks to prevent the driveway from breaking down any further.

2. Longitudinal Cracks

These cracks run straight down the center of your drive, parallel to its construction. These can later develop serious conditions and can be a sign of structural fatigue or poor joint construction. In addition, they let in moisture, which can further damage your driveway. Cracks less than 1/2 inch wide can be filled and sealed, especially if they aren't the entire length of the drive. Cracks wider than that, or ones that go the entire length of the drive, indicate a need to replace the driveway.

3. Transverse Cracks

Transverse cracks run the opposite direction from longitudinal ones, cutting across the way the drive was laid down. They can be the result of poor construction, settling, or just constant changes in the weather over time. Most transverse cracks, if caught early, can be filled and sealed to prevent further deterioration of the driveway.

4. Block Cracks

If your driveway has big squares formed by the cracks, these are block cracks. They usually indicate that the asphalt binder is incapable of handling the temperature cycles. It may have been a poor choice of binder or the binder may be aging. If the cracks are less than 1/2 inch wide, you can fill them and seal them to prevent moisture from getting into the driveway's deeper layers. If the cracks are wide or the edges seem broken and uneven all around, you may want to consider replacing the top layer.

5. Crocodile Cracks

If your asphalt drive resembles the hide of a crocodile, that's a sign that it has simply seen better days. Crocodile cracking can be caused by structural failure, deep moisture infiltration, poor construction, or age. If you have just a small patch that has crocodile cracking, you may be able to fill and seal the area for a while, but widespread crocodile cracks generally indicate that it's time for a new driveway.

6. Crescent Cracks

Crescent shaped cracks in your driveway are caused by slippage of the top layer of asphalt and indicate an unstable bond between the layers of your driveway. They get their distinct pattern because of the force applied by your vehicle as it brakes, backs up, or turns. This is another serious problem that requires more extensive repairs. The top layer usually needs to be removed and relaid.

Once you've identified the type of cracks your asphalt has, contact a paving contractor to discuss the possibility of repairs. To learn more, contact a company like Central Paving & Sealcoating Inc.