- Pavement maintenance and repair is a daunting gig that requires your undivided attention.
- The harsh external elements and neglecting maintenance can cause your parking lot to develop fatigue or alligator cracking.
- You should not take these cracks lightly because they ruin your pavement’s look, require expensive rework, and pose a danger to drivers and pedestrians.
- You can prevent alligator crack formation by ensuring regular pavement maintenance and repairs are carried out.
- Regardless of what an expert you consider yourself in pavement maintenance and repair, alligator cracks are a problem only professionals should handle.
- The pros at Brother’s Paving and Concrete can help you resolve all your alligator cracking problems.
Alligator cracking is a severe problem for parking lot owners and professional pavement contractors. This unsightly pavement condition is characterized by a network of interconnecting cracks resembling an alligator’s scaly skin. The cracks can occur when a parking lot is subject to heavy traffic, poor drainage, or extreme weather conditions.
When left untreated, alligator cracks will only get worse. Eventually, the entire pavement surface will be damaged beyond repair and require replacement. Pavement owners can avoid costly repairs by implementing a regular maintenance and repair program. Professional pavement contractors can help you develop a customized plan to keep your parking lot in tip-top shape and nip this problem in the bud.
This blog post details the scourge of alligator cracking. It’s formation, development, and matters that make it worse. As a word of advice, we round up this article by listing preventative maintenance measures to help prevent these ungainly cracks from developing into a problem you can’t manage.
Alligator Cracking – A Brief Intro
This is a type of fatigue failure that typically occurs in asphalt pavement. The name is derived from the characteristic shape of the cracks, which resemble an alligator’s hide. The cracking typically forms in areas of high traffic or repeated loading, such as at intersections or along the edges of driveways.
Alligator cracks are caused by an extensive loss of support at the bottom of the asphalt surface. This can be due to many things, including but not limited to the following:
- Poor drainage
- Weak subgrade soils
- Limited thickness of the asphalt pavement
- Overloading from heavy vehicles
- Repeated thermal cycling (expansion and contraction due to temperature changes)
- Deflection from underlying layers
Once alligator cracks have formed, they will continue to grow and spread if left unaddressed. Water can seep into the cracks and accelerate deterioration, eventually leading to potholes and other distress. These cracks can also cause trip and fall hazards. As such, a professional paving contractor should be called to repair these cracks as soon as possible.
You can use several methods to repair alligator cracks, including:
- HMA Overlays
- HMA Patching
- Pavement Replacement
The best repair method will depend on the extent of the damage and other factors, such as your budget and time constraints. A professional paving contractor can assess the damage and recommend the best course of action.
How to Prevent the Formation of Alligator Cracks
The leading cause of alligator cracks is a failure in the pavement surface caused by repeated traffic loading. The initial crack forms when the asphalt mix starts to lose its flexibility, forming small cracks on the surface. These cracks begin to interconnect and grow larger as traffic continues to pound the pavement.
You can do several things to prevent alligator cracking, such as using a pavement sealer or ensuring proper drainage. Pavement sealers provide a protective barrier against water and UV damage, while proper drainage ensures that water doesn’t pool on the surface and cause the formation of cracks. Additionally, it’s essential to regularly inspect your pavement for any signs of damage to address any problems before they lead to alligator cracking.
Here’s a checklist of steps you can follow to prevent crack formation:
- Use a thicker layer of asphalt mix. This will help increase the pavement’s fatigue life and help to resist cracking.
- Use a higher-quality asphalt mix. This will also help to increase the pavement’s fatigue life and resistance to cracking.
- Make sure that the subgrade is well-compacted before placing the asphalt mix. This will help prevent settlements and pavement unevenness, which can lead to cracking.
- Install a drainage system beneath the pavement. This will help to remove water from the subgrade and help to prevent the formation of cracks due to freeze-thaw cycles or excessive moisture in the subgrade.
- Seal any cracks that do develop as soon as possible. This will help to prevent further damage to the pavement and will also help to prevent the formation of larger, more damaging cracks.
Also, make sure to read – Pavement Contractors – Red Flags You Need to Look Out for.
The Perils of DIY Alligator Crack Repair
Alligator cracking is a serious business. It’s not something you should try to tackle on your own. Not only is it a daunting repair job, but it’s also dangerous. The last thing you want is for your DIY alligator crack repair to end with you being rushed to the hospital with severe injuries.
There are many dangers associated with alligator crack repair, such as:
- Slipping and falling on the wet pavement;
- Getting hit by flying asphalt chunks;
- Breathing in harmful fumes from the asphalt;
- Being electrocuted by exposed wires;
- Being run over by a passing car;
- And, of course, the ever-present danger of making the repair job worse than it was before.
Save yourself the headache (and potential danger) and leave alligator crack repair to the professionals. Pavement maintenance and repair is no laughing matter, so don’t take chances by trying to fix it yourself. Trust only experienced and qualified pavement contractors to get the job done right.
Brothers Paving & Concrete is among the best paving contractors you will find in DC, Maryland and Virginia. We have successfully completed many projects in the area and look forward to restoring your commercial lot to pristine condition. Fixing alligator cracks is a walk in the park for us!