Alligator cracking is a condition that all asphalt paved surfaces will eventually face. It forms when all three parts of asphalt – aggregate, binder, and water – dry out too much. As this happens, the cracks grow more prominent all over the surface of your asphalt until they form an alligator’s back. If you have alligator cracking on your road, it means that one or more of these three components are not mixed enough with each other to prevent drying out.
What Causes Alligator Cracking?
Alligator cracking can be a very frustrating problem, all the more so if it appears on your newly paved driveway or parking lot. If alligator cracks appear in your asphalt surface shortly after paving, then it means that the pavement was constructed improperly or had some deficiency. It implies the sub-base was not prepared correctly, or it may be that alligator cracks are appearing because the base pavement is too thin.
Alligator cracking typically appears as a series of parallel cracks that all start at about the same distance from one another and all point to the right or left edge of the pavement. Alligator cracking can also be caused by improper compaction during construction, lack of moisture before paving, lack of proper drainage after paving, or water seeping below the surface level due to inadequate grading.
How to Fix Alligator Cracking Temporarily
It is best to try and fix alligator cracks permanently while you can still access all of them (before they get worse). For temporary fixes, your options include:
- Filling in alligator cracks with asphalt crack filler.
- Applying gravel over alligator cracks.
- Leveling alligator cracks with a coat of asphalt sealer.
How to Treat Alligator Cracking Permanently
To permanently fix alligator cracking, the entire area will need a good base of compacted aggregate beneath it. The asphalt must be milled away and removed from that spot after engineers determine how much milling is required for stability. The base must be compacted, and new asphalt must be added to the alligator crack area.
A machine is used for milling with rotating disks that grind away all of the old material until only solid, stable ground remains under the surface. Asphalt milling can remove up to several inches (or more) from an existing roadway; how much material will need to be removed depends on the condition and depth of the alligator cracking. Once all milling is done, asphalt will need to be placed over that newly stable foundation to repair the alligator cracking problem.
The purpose of this blog post was to introduce you to the term alligator cracking and provide information about how it affects your asphalt pavement. Powersurge Plus is your reliable asphalt services provider, including repairing alligator cracks. We are happy to provide free quotes on all our asphalt paving services to residents of Bucks & Montgomery Counties, PA. So, please contact us today!