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Asphalt Alligator Cracks

What Causes Asphalt Alligator Cracks (And What to Do About It)

One of the most notorious ways you’ll know when pavement is beginning to deteriorate is when you start to see fatigue cracking. Also known as asphalt alligator cracks or crocodile cracking, these distinctive cracking patterns resemble the scales on a the back of a reptile.

Unfortunately, asphalt alligator cracks on your commercial property will become more than just an eye-sore, especially if the cracks are ignored without repair. The experts at East Coast Paving have seen it all and have the inside scoop on what to do if you’re facing this pavement problem.

What Causes Asphalt Alligator Cracks?

Asphalt alligator cracks go much deeper than your typical surface-level damage. These kind of cracks are frequently caused by issues in layers beneath the asphalt. As with any surface, if your pavement is struggling to support loading above, it will crack.

Consistently heavy traffic loading is a common cause that not only leads to pavement cracks, but also cracks in the underlying base. And once these interconnected cracks appear, moisture infiltration, deterioration and potholes become imminent.

In addition to potential structural failure, this type of cracking can also be caused by an inadequate structural design and construction, lack of edge support, poor drainage or environmental factors such as thaw-frost action.

Repairing Asphalt Alligator Cracks

If you start noticing asphalt alligator cracks, the first step is to conduct an investigation to find out the root cause of the problem. It’s critical to understand the pavement’s structural makeup to determine whether or not subsurface moisture is also a contributing factor. Typically asphalt alligator cracks will be addressed in one of two ways:

  1. If the cracking is localized, it could indicate a loss of subgrade support. To repair this issue, the cracked pavement and subgrade will need to be removed, dug out and replaced with new support and pavement.
  2. If the asphalt alligator cracks covers the entire pavement surface area, it could indicate overall structural failure. In this case, the damaged pavement will either need to be replaced completely or possibly covered by an HMA overlay.

It’s important to note that while many types of asphalt parking lot cracks can be repaired by sealing, if pavement becomes alligatored, this type of damage could possibly be beyond the ability to seal. Digging down to evaluate the underlying cause, strengthening the subgrade base and replacing the entire surface is often the best (and most cost-effective) solution to repair asphalt alligator cracks.

Solutions for Commercial Property Asphalt Alligator Cracks

If your commercial property pavement surface looks like the back of an alligator and seems to be developing fatigue, contact the trained experts at East Coast Paving to evaluate the damage done. Serving New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, our experienced professionals will diagnose recommended solutions based on your specific needs and budget. Call us today at 732-329-3600 or email info@eccompanies.com to learn more.

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