Why Does Asphalt Crack?

As every business owner in the DC metro area knows, having an attractive, accessible, and functional property is essential to the success of your establishment. This starts with paving. If your driveway or parking lot is cracked and disheveled, potential customers will likely not feel comfortable visiting your property. Even if they do, your pavement will not make a favorable first impression and may create unsafe conditions.

To ensure your parking lot or roadway is in the best condition possible, you have to understand why asphalt cracks—and how to prevent this from happening in the future. If cracks are left unattended, they will be an entry point for water to further deteriorate your pavement. Even if you do repave your parking lot, these issues must still be addressed prior to paving, or you will end up with reflection cracking (see item #6) in your brand-new asphalt. You can trust A.B. Veirs & Sons Paving to offer the knowledge you want and the commercial pavement maintenance services you need.

7 Causes of Asphalt Cracking

Asphalt pavement distress is caused by a variety of factors, from motor vehicle force to temperature fluctuations. Though these factors are inevitable, understanding them can help you find the root cause of the issue and address it as necessary. According to Asphalt Magazine, there are seven primary causes of asphalt cracking:

  1. Fatigue cracking – If your parking lot or roadway has a weakened base due to overloading, wet/soft subgrade, or improper asphalt thickness, this type of cracking can occur. This is also known as “alligator cracking.”
  2. Block cracking – These larger, rectangular cracks result from temperature fluctuations that cause the asphalt to shrink and expand.
  3. Edge cracking – If the edges of pavement do not have sufficient support, long cracks along the outer edge can form.
  4. Longitudinal cracking – These cracks, which run parallel to the center of the pavement, can be an indication of construction issues. Although joints will usually be the first thing to deteriorate in asphalt, improper paver operation can cause excessively weak joints that separate prematurely.
  5. Transverse cracking – Contrary to longitudinal cracking, transverse cracks form perpendicular to the center of the pavement. However, they can also be caused by shrinkage or an extension of another crack.
  6. Reflection cracking – Reflection cracks form when the existing pavement was installed without addressing underlying problems such as weak spots or wide cracks.
  7. Slippage cracking – These crescent-shaped cracks, which form due to force from vehicles, are a result of poor bonding between pavement layers. Low-strength asphalt can also be the culprit behind this type of cracking.

Schedule New Asphalt Paving or Commercial Pavement Maintenance in MD, DC & Northern VA

As you can see, there are several causes of asphalt cracking. However, these can all be prevented or fixed with proper paving techniques and professional pavement maintenance. Since 1947, A.B. Veirs & Sons Paving has been offering top-quality asphalt paving services throughout Montgomery County, MD, as well as the surrounding areas in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC.

If you need asphalt paving services for your new or existing commercial property in Montgomery County, get in touch with us today. We offer the best equipment, planning, and execution in the area—and we’re sure you’ll agree after you witness the transformation of your pavement.

To schedule new asphalt paving or commercial pavement maintenance and repair with A.B. Veirs & Sons Paving in the DC metro area, contact us online or call (301) 276-0886 today!