Should I Be Concerned About Cracks in My Pavement?

Should I Be Concerned About Cracks in My Pavement Grand Rapids Asphalt Paving

Over time, it’s not uncommon for your asphalt driveway or parking lot to crack. The good news is that there are things you can do to prolong the life of your pavement, such as sealcoating.

The sooner you repair an asphalt crack, the sooner you'll be able to prevent damage to the foundation.

Here's what else you need to know.

What Are the Different Types of Asphalt Cracks?

The size and depth of the crack will determine whether you'll need to hire a pro. If you have the time and you're willing to roll up your sleeves, you can fill small cracks that are less than an inch wide.

For cracks wider than an inch, you'll need to schedule repairs with an experienced asphalt contractor. Either way, it's important to fill asphalt cracks before they have the chance to deepen.

If you take the DIY route, visit your local home improvement store. There, you should be able to find tubes of asphalt patch products that you can use to fill small cracks. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure you get the desired results.

If the foundation has failed, you may notice alligator cracking on the surface. As the name suggests, this type of damage resembles the scaly hide of an alligator. Once you notice alligator cracking, you'll need to start making plans for repaving.

Can I Use Asphalt Sealer for Filling Cracks?

No. Asphalt sealer is a preventive measure. It's not designed to fill cracks and potholes. As the name suggests, its purpose is to seal the surface of your asphalt pavement.

Sealcoating protects asphalt from UV rays, precipitation, and automobile fluids. But it only reaches its full potential when we fill cracks and potholes first.

To repair an asphalt crack, you'll need a flexible product. This is because asphalt pavement expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations. When the temperature rises, asphalt expands. When the temperature drops, it contracts.

Once we repair the surface of the pavement, we'll apply the sealant in a thin layer and give it time to cure. If you apply sealer too thick, it'll flake off and won't protect your asphalt.

The goal is to create an impenetrable surface so water isn't able to seep into the foundation. If water damages the foundation, you may need to replace your driveway or parking lot early.

When Should I Repair Asphalt Cracks?

Always fill asphalt cracks as soon as possible. Otherwise, water may seep into the foundation to cause permanent damage. Also, keep in mind that the freeze-thaw cycles in winter and spring can trigger a series of events.

What happens to asphalt pavement during a freeze-thaw cycle:

  1. The temperature plummets.
  2. The asphalt pavement contracts.
  3. The crack widens and deepens.
  4. Water seeps into the crack and freezes under the surface.
  5. The trapped ice pushes the surface of the pavement upward.
  6. The ice melts and leaves a hollow space between the pavement's surface and sub-base.
  7. The pavement collapses into a pothole under the weight of traffic.

Want our advice? Don't wait until next spring or summer to repair cracks and potholes. Otherwise, you may face a lot of surprise repairs once the snow melts.

Related:Why Asphalt Driveways Pothole in the Winter →

Request a Free Estimate From A-1 Asphalt

As a reputable asphalt contractor, we're proud to serve the Greater Grand Rapids area. To request a free estimate, please call A-1 Asphalt at (800) 871-4401. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you soon.

This blog post has been updated.