What Causes Asphalt Damage?

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Asphalt is a popular choice for pavements. It typically lasts longer and always looks great. On the other hand, it is also susceptible to many different types of damages. Weather, oil, UV rays, constant traffic are all potential causes of asphalt damage resulting in the cracks, potholes, and pits you see on the road or in driveways.

Most Common Type of Asphalt Damage:

Cracking

Cracks in asphalt are one of the most common ways to indicate there has been asphalt damage. Asphalt will crack differently, in different areas of the pavement, depending on its condition and environment. Here are some types of cracking you might see often.

 

Alligator

Alligator cracking, also called fatigue cracking, is a frequent type of asphalt damage. It results from a structural problem underneath the surface of the asphalt. Because of a weak base or compressed bottom layer, the surface will crack resembling the look of alligator skin (hence the name). These cracks are mainly due to traffic overload and the continuous motion of heavy vehicles being driven over a certain area. If left untreated, alligator cracking can eventually lead to potholes.

 

Edge

Edge cracks are longitudinal cracks that occur near the edge of pavements. These are mainly due to a lack of structural support. They are often caused by vehicles driving alongside the edge of the road, adding stress to these areas. If there is dirt or heavy vegetation near the edge of the pavement, this could cause the asphalt to weaken as well. Lack of proper draining along the edge of pavements and excess water seeping underneath the asphalt both contribute to edge cracks.

 

 

Block

Block cracks show up on the surface of many pavements including roads with low volume traffic, curbside parking areas and driveways. They normally look like big blocks or rectangles in the asphalt. These cracks naturally form from temperature cycles that cause the asphalt surface to expand and contract or shrink. A couple of reasons for the shrinkage is the asphalt might have been poorly mixed and therefore unable to sustain seasonal changes or it has been dried out.

 

Common Causes for Asphalt Damage

Now, let’s go over some of the different conditions during which asphalt damage may occur.

 

Plants & Tree Roots

Asphalt damage can occur from dust and debris that makes their way into asphalt cracks. As this happens, plant seeds fall into these spaces causing grass, weeds and other plants to grow. The weeds from these plants can crawl underneath the asphalt’s foundation, weakening it and causing cracks on the surface to arise.

Trees are a common issue for asphalt as their roots are extremely long. If you plan on planting a tree, you might want to think twice about planting one near an important area of your home such as the driveway. As the tree grows, and its roots extend, the roots can push against the foundation of your driveway causing damage to the asphalt over time.

 

Water

Whether it is a puddle or a drain underground, water is an inevitable enemy of asphalt. Asphalt damage from water can come from rainfall, sprinklers, vegetation near pavements, poor draining systems and so much more. Water that sits on top of pavement can cause the surface to soften and crack. Water that seeps deep into the asphalt can damage the foundation. So, if there is a leak in an underground pipe, be sure to get the checked as it can cause pitting in the asphalt. And avoid letting puddles or water settle in one spot, on top of asphalt, for too long.

Sealcoating, proper drainage systems, or repairing groundwater issues can all assist in keeping these issues control.

 

Oxidation

 UV rays from the sun oxidize the oil within the asphalt’s mixture. The asphalt then becomes more rigid and brittle (which is also what causes loose gravel). So if you combine inflexible asphalt, with the ongoing traffic of heavy vehicles, over time cracked asphalt surface will occur.

In the case that you do have asphalt damage, please do not hesitate to give us a call! Our team, here at Sunrise Asphalt, is ready to help repair, seal and fix any asphalt damage and provide you with the best service.