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Alligator Cracking

It starts innocently enough, with longitudinal cracks that appear on your asphalt surface. You may think it’s not a huge concern – all asphalt cracks eventually, right? Then the cracks grow, and keep growing. Transverse cracks appear that connect the parallel cracks, and a distinctive pattern emerges. Before you know it, your parking lot or roadway is covered in a patchwork of cracks, and suddenly it doesn’t seem like a small problem anymore. If you’ve experienced this, you are a victim of alligator cracking.

Do you have alligator cracking in the asphalt at your business in Austin, TX? Contact us online or call us at 512-961-1776 for a free consultation with Integrity Paving & Coatings.

What Is Alligator Cracking?

Also known as “spider cracking” or “crocodile cracking,” alligator cracking is a form of asphalt cracking that worsens with time and leads to bigger issues if ignored. Alligator cracking forms a characteristic pattern on asphalt that looks like the scales on an alligator’s back. It is not a regular effect of age or wear and tear; instead, it’s an indication of structural failure. It may occur in a small area, affecting just a parking space or two, or it may extend across your entire asphalt surface. No matter how small it starts, it’s a serious problem that should not be ignored.

How Can Alligator Cracking Impact Your Austin Business?

At first, alligator cracking will be nothing more than an eyesore that detracts from the presentation of your business. It will make your parking lot or roadway look old and neglected, which might give your customers the impression that you neglect other aspects of business as well. As the alligator cracking becomes more severe, the cracks will connect to create small sections of pavement, some of which will break off as vehicles drive over them. Each uncovered chunk will grow bigger as more vehicles pass over it, and as rain and ice enter the unprotected areas, causing further deterioration. With time, your asphalt surface will be rough and riddled with potholes, which cause an unpleasant ride and vehicle damage. By then, your customers will really want to avoid it!

What Causes Alligator Cracking in Asphalt?

Alligator cracking is not a normal deterioration of asphalt. Alligator cracks can occur as the result of a few different types of structural failure:

  1. Traffic is too heavy – Your traffic load may exceed the tolerances for which the pavement was engineered.
  2. A faulty sub-base – If the subgrade was not properly prepared, it might not be thick enough or it might not allow for adequate drainage.
  3. Poor drainage – This will allow water to erode the base, leading to lack of support for the asphalt surface.
  4. Stripping – Separation between the asphalt and the base layer.
  5. Raveling – The roughening and deterioration of the asphalt surface, where the materials in the asphalt are actually dislodged to create a gravelly surface. This leaves your asphalt without protection and allows moisture to enter it.

What Can You Do About Alligator Cracking?

You should take certain steps as soon as you notice alligator cracking, preferably at the first sign of the longitudinal cracks. Unfortunately, most measures are temporary; because alligator cracking is caused by structural issues underneath the asphalt, you cannot fix it with surface-level remedies. You need a professional asphalt contractor to dig into your asphalt and diagnose the source of the problem. If the cracking is only in a small, localized area, your asphalt contractor may be able to remove just those damaged areas, install a new sub-base, and lay new asphalt. If the cracking is widespread, the entire surface may need to be replaced, with a proper sub-base laid beneath it. Replacing the entire surface is more cost effective than continuing to battle the ongoing effects of faulty asphalt construction for years.

Don’t Wait to Deal With Alligator Cracking at Your Austin Business

The key to dealing with alligator cracking is to act quickly. It is always a symptom of structural issues underneath the asphalt, so it will only get worse if neglected. The sooner you address your alligator cracking, the better the outcome will be. The longer you neglect it, the more the damage will spread, leading to a substantially higher repair cost in the end.

Don’t wait – call Integrity Paving & Coating at the first sign of alligator cracking in your parking lot or roadway in Austin. We are quality-driven professionals with the expertise to do the job right the first time. Our experienced technicians will evaluate your asphalt surface and assess the sub-base to determine the root cause of the problem. We’ll then give you an honest assessment of the extent of the damage and the best course of action to repair it. After we expertly repair your asphalt, you won’t have to worry about dealing with alligator cracking down the road!

If you notice signs of alligator cracking on the asphalt coating at your business in Austin, TX, it’s time for a quick, free consultation with Integrity. We can help assess the damage and come up with a solution that fits your asphalt conditions, your business, and your budget. Contact us online or call us at 512-961-1776 today!

FAQs about Alligator Cracking

If you’re here for quick answers, we’ve boiled the main points about alligator cracking down to these frequently asked questions:

Alligator cracking is caused by structural issues underneath the asphalt. It could be that the traffic load is too heavy for the design, the subgrade was not properly prepared during construction, or because your asphalt surface doesn’t have adequate drainage. It can also be caused by stripping or raveling, both of which allow water to enter your asphalt and erode its support.

Alligator cracks cannot be fixed with surface remedies. An experienced asphalt contractor will need to dig under the asphalt to determine what is causing the structural failure. Once the root cause has been determined, you can either fix the localized areas where it is occurring (if possible), or tear up the entire surface, rebuild the base properly, and lay a new asphalt surface.

In the case of alligator cracking, the best repair is to pull up the entire affected area and start over. However, seal coating can be applied to the cracks to slow the spread of damage and buy time to implement a real solution.

If you’re experiencing alligator cracking in the asphalt at your business in Austin, TX? Contact us online or call us today at 512-961-1776 for a free consultation!

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