Alligator cracking, also known as fatigue cracking, is a series of interconnected cracks that resemble the scales on an alligator’s back. Every asphalt surface is at risk of alligator cracking, but there are several things you can do to help prevent it. Alligator cracking doesn’t appear overnight, instead it takes time to form. As the name ‘fatigue cracking’ suggests, it is commonly spurred on by overloading surfaces so that the underlying layer, or foundation, is put under too much pressure. Under the continuous pressure of too much weight, the surface layer of asphalt begins to fatigue or break down over time. As a result, asphalt begins to shift and show a multitude of surface cracks that all interconnect.
Is Alligator Cracking Serious?
Because alligator cracking stems from the base supporting layer, it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed right away. Alligator cracking can be fixed using a variety of measures based on the extent of the damage. Even better than fixing the problem is preventing it from happening in the first place.
5 Tips How to Prevent Alligator Cracking
- Build Surfaces Correctly – When planning a roadway or parking lot it’s crucial to know how much weight surfaces are going to need to uphold on a regular basis. Asphalt can be made in varying strengths. Asphalt that is forced to support too much weight is far more prone to alligator cracking. An asphalt specialist can create specialty designs that include adequate support for the sub-base.
- Restrict Heavy Trucks & Semis – If asphalt surfaces are not designed to regularly uphold heavy trucks and semis, it’s important to add the correct signage banning trucks over a certain weight from entering or driving over surfaces. By simply reducing the pressure placed on asphalt you can prevent a lot of potential damage.
- Reduce Number of Vehicles on Surfaces – Several cars and trucks can weigh the same as one semi, therefore, you may need to reduce the level of traffic that drives on your parking lot or roadway at any given time. There are a couple things you can do to reduce the overall traffic, such as repainting parking lines so that there are fewer parking spaces in a given lot. As a result, surfaces will be required to support less weight at one time.
- Improve Drainage – Water plays a role in the development of alligator cracking as well. For one, any cracks in surfaces allow moisture to get inside. Once water enters the sub-base, it will expand and contract with the weather, thus putting pressure on the sub-base and upper layers of asphalt. Hence, why alligator cracking is more common in cold or extreme weather. When water doesn’t properly drain away, it sits on the surface and creates additional pressure. All in all, the presence of too much water increases the risk for damage. A good drainage system prevents water from pooling on surfaces, reducing the risk of alligator cracking and other types of asphalt damage.
- Seal Minor Cracks – When you notice minor cracks forming in asphalt, have them sealed with a seal coat. This will limit the size of the crack and protect the surrounding surfaces and sub-base from suffering damage as a result.
Turn to the Trusted Pros
The pros at Kleenco Construction have the knowledge, skills, and experience to keep your asphalt surfaces in the best shape possible. From initial planning and construction to maintenance and repairs, we take care of your asphalt needs. Contact us today to learn more, ask a question, or get a quote.