If your asphalt driveway has developed a crack, then it is important to determine the cause of the cracking and fix it. Smaller cracks can be easily fixed by you while larger cracks will need to be professionally repaired by an asphalt contractor. Regardless of who ultimately fixes the damage, it is also vital to know what lead to the asphalt surface's cracking and take necessary steps to prevent this type of damage in the future.
Why Asphalt Driveways Develop Cracks
Residential asphalt driveways crack for a number of different reasons, including:
- excessive vehicle traffic
- excessive vehicle weight
- asphalt mix quality
- asphalt installation quality
In addition to the human causes listed above, asphalt is also susceptible to damage from environmental factors. Hot weather causes asphalt to become soft and often leads to depressions and ruts in the surface. Cold and wet weather degrades the bitumen in asphalt and causes it to become brittle. A brittle surface on your driveway allows water to intrude into the asphalt and cause it to crack.
How Asphalt Driveway Cracks are Repaired
Cracked asphalt needs to be repaired immediately or else water will intrude below the slab and cause erosion. Erosion of the soil below your asphalt driveway will lead to more cracking and the development of potholes.
If your driveway has a short crack that has not separated too much, then you can easily repair the damage yourself using a tube of asphalt repair paste. Before you apply the past, you need to clean the surface well with an air compressor or garden hose. Once the area is dry, then apply the repair paste with a caulking gun and by following the directions on the packaging.
If you driveway has developed a very long crack or one that has separated too far to patch it with repair paste, then you will need to have a professional asphalt paving contractor come out and fix the damage. They will remove the asphalt around the crack and then apply new asphalt to patch the area.
How to Prevent Future Asphalt Driveway Cracks
Since healthy asphalt will not crack, it is important for you to determine the cause of your driveway's damage so that you can prevent the need for future repairs. Cracking from excessively heavy vehicles or too much traffic can be avoided by finding alternative parking places for oversized vehicles. Yearly seal coating rejuvenates the asphalt and adds a new protective layer to its top. And, finally, if water is running under your driveway from surrounding landscaping, then you should divert the water away from your driveway to prevent future cracks and structural damage.