Asphalt contractors can install an attractive pavement very quickly, and it can have quite a long life with the proper care. At some point, every asphalt pavement will develop one or more cracks. You will need to repair them in a timely manner to prevent additional damage. However, since prevention is always preferable to a repair, you might want to prevent as many cracks as possible. Although some cracks may form, preventive measures can reduce their severity and frequency.
Why Is It Important to Prevent Cracks in an Asphalt Pavement?
Water is a highly destructive enemy of asphalt parking lots, streets, and other pavements that rely on stable, strong foundations. Without timely asphalt crack repairs, water flows into the opening, then percolates through the structure. It will eventually reach the foundation and erode it. The foundation becomes weaker and more unstable. As the foundation deteriorates, it becomes incapable of supporting the weight of the pavement and the traffic it bears. The best you can expect will be more and larger cracks, patches of alligatored asphalt, and an increasing number of potholes. The longer you neglect your asphalt crack repair, the greater the collateral damage will be. Furthermore, until you repair them, existing cracks will likely continue to expand in length, width, and depth.
What Causes Cracks in Asphalt Parking Lots and Other Pavements?
There are many different types of cracks that can develop from several different causes.
1. Edge cracks are often the result of ground movement, soil shrinkage, or the root systems of trees or shrubs near the pavement. Asphalt crack sealing can sometimes address this problem.
2. Slippage cracks are crescent-shaped cracks that are typically the result of inadequate bonding between asphalt courses. More rarely, they indicate a problem with the asphalt mix that the paving contractor selected. To remedy the issue, a contractor may use an asphalt removal technique to find a good bond, then repave the area above it.
Other types of cracks can be the result of vehicles that are heavier than the contractor engineered the pavement to support. An excessively dramatic increase in the volume of traffic can also result in the development of cracks. Asphalt that has become dry and brittle will also crack more easily, and so will asphalt that has become soft and crumbly.
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Cracks in an Asphalt Pavement?
The best way to help prevent cracks is through a proactive asphalt maintenance plan. Effective asphalt maintenance can reduce the frequency and cost of your parking lot repair. Your plan should include the items on the following list.
1. Sealcoat your pavement within its first year of life. Ask you contractor to recommend the proper interval between applications, but it is usually between two and three years. UV rays dry out asphalt paving, making it more likely to crack; sealcoating blocks these rays. Sealcoating also helps prevent damage from automotive fluids.
2. Remove automotive fluids as quickly as possible. Even with sealcoating, you should not allow these fluids to remain on your pavement for more than six months or so. Automotive fluids deteriorate the binder in asphalt paving, leaving it soft and crumbly. The crumbs are easy to dislodge, so these spots can quickly become potholes or spawn new cracks.
3. Do not overload your pavement in terms of either weight or volume. For example, if your contractor designed your parking lot for 1,000 passenger vehicles a day, do not allow 20,000 vehicles. Similarly, allowing heavyweight trucks to use your lot can also inflict damage.
4. Make sure that your pavement drains properly. Clear clogs in your gutters or catch basins. Keep grates clear as well. Poor drainage can allow water to penetrate beneath the surface of the pavement as easily as a crack.
5. Remove fallen leaves, trash, grass clippings, and other debris regularly. This can help prevent clogs in your drainage system. However, it also helps prevent moisture from becoming trapped between the debris and the pavement’s surface.
RDC Paving provides asphalt maintenance, concrete work, and much more to clients in many towns in Central Texas. Our services include asphalt crack sealing, sealcoating, driveway paving, asphalt repairs, ADA-compliant concrete, parking lot striping, asphalt milling, concrete parking lot installations, parking lot maintenance, asphalt paving, concrete ramp construction, asphalt overlays, concrete sidewalk construction, and concrete repairs. We have a reputation for delivering extremely high-quality work and superior customer service in a consistent, professional manner. If you wish to request a free job quote, you can fill out our online form. If you would rather, you can call us at 512-920-9155.