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What to Do When You See Alligator Cracking in Asphalt
If you see a distinctive pattern of cracking in your asphalt that looks like the scales on an alligator’s back, you need to take immediate action to prevent further damage. Also known as “fatigue” or “crocodile” cracking, alligator cracking is a serious problem that worsens with time and leads to bigger issues if left untreated. Read on to learn what causes this common problem and what you can do about it.
What Causes Alligator Cracking in Asphalt?
Alligator cracking is caused by issues in the supporting material beneath your asphalt. If the subgrade was not properly prepared, it might not be thick enough or it might not allow for adequate drainage. Even if the asphalt is sound, a faulty subgrade structure can’t support it under pressure.
What to Do When You First Notice Alligator Cracking
The first thing you should do if you notice alligator cracking is apply a crack filler or seal coating solution to the cracks. This will not fix the root cause of the problem, but it will slow the spread of damage while you arrange a real solution. Eliminating or reducing the weight that the asphalt has to bear will slow or prevent further damage, so try to keep traffic from passing over the affected area if at all possible. Once you’ve taken those measures, contact a reliable asphalt paving and repair company to implement a true solution.
How to Treat Alligator Cracking
A knowledgeable asphalt contractor will have to dig into the asphalt to identify and repair the problems causing alligator cracking. Here are the steps that any qualified asphalt repair company will take:
- Identify & evaluate the problem – Your contractor will carefully evaluate the damage and take all aspects into consideration to identify the source of the problem. This will help them determine what your repair options are.
- Assess the sub-base – To diagnose the full extent of the problem, your contractor will have to dig into the asphalt and evaluate the sub-base. They’ll be able to determine what the underlying issues are and how to modify the sub-base to prevent future damage.
- Repair the damage – If your asphalt is only cracking in certain sections, your 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. In some cases replacing the entire surface is more cost effective than continuing to battle the ongoing effects of faulty asphalt construction for years.
How to Prevent Alligator Cracking
While it may be too late for your existing asphalt, in the future you can prevent alligator cracking by working with a reputable and experienced asphalt paving and repair company like Integrity Paving & Coatings. We are quality-driven professionals with the expertise to do the job right the first time, so you won’t suffer problems like alligator cracking down the road. We’ll do the proper research to determine the needs of your project based on soil composition, weather conditions, and weight bearing requirements so that we lay your asphalt with a perfectly prepared sub-base.
If you discover alligator cracking in your asphalt coating, contact us for a quick, free consultation. We can help assess the damage and come up with a solution that fits your asphalt conditions, your business, and your budget.