Alligator cracking is common on asphalt driveways. It can be found anywhere, but it often occurs toward the edges of the driveway. It's easy to tell if your driveway has this problem because the cracks look like the markings on an alligator. These cracks are more serious than simple straight cracks on the surface of your driveway. Here's what causes alligator cracking and the driveway repairs that can fix the problem.
Why Alligator Cracks Develop
Regular straight cracks often form due to damage caused to the surface of the driveway. Alligator cracks often form due to damage underneath the driveway. They're a sign the base is no longer stable. That's why repairs need to be done as soon as you see alligator cracks developing. Otherwise, the damage escalates.
Crack Filler Is For Temporary Repairs
If you want the least expensive and quickest way to stop the spread of asphalt damage, you may want your asphalt driveway repair contractor to fill the cracks with asphalt patching material. This seals the cracks so rain can't seep down to the base and wash more of it away.
In addition, your contractor may advise you to avoid driving over the repaired area if at all possible. If you have a horseshoe driveway, you might use only one side so you can stay off of the repaired area. When you drive over the repairs, the asphalt may weaken. The more you drive on the asphalt, the quicker it wears out and the sooner you'll need to make other repairs.
A Partial Driveway Replacement Is More Permanent
You probably won't need to replace your entire driveway just to repair a section of alligator cracks. Instead, your asphalt driveway repair contractor may just cut out and replace the damaged area. To do this, they bust up the asphalt in the area and dump it in a dump truck. Then, the contractor can examine the base to determine the problem.
The contractor may need to improve drainage around your driveway by putting in a drain or changing the slope of the ground or sloping the new asphalt when it's added. They may need to add gravel to the soil and compact it to stabilize the base. Then the contractor can add new asphalt to the base to completely replace the alligator cracks.
The new patch of asphalt will be dark, so it probably won't match your old, faded driveway, but at least the damage to your driveway will stop. You can always even out the color by applying a black seal coat to the entire driveway so the repairs blend in and are not as obvious.
To learn more, contact an asphalt driveway repair service near you.