Asphalt Alligator Crack Repair is simple once you know the basic rudiments of using asphalt for paving. Many people go for asphalt when they think of longevity in paving. This is because an average asphalt paving has a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. That is some decades over many other options available.
However, the longevity expected of asphalt may be endangered by some circumstances. As a home or business owner with asphalt paving, you have to be on the lookout. Whenever you see any of those circumstances, look into it and fix it as possible.
One of such circumstances that may endanger your asphalt paving is alligator crack. For a public road, regular inspection is important to know when the asphalt cracks. Research has shown the various ways in which people can detect asphalt cracks.
Alligator crack is when your asphalt paving is cracked in certain places such that it resembles an alligator’s back. Some people also call it the eggshell crack or spider web. When you see this, repair it immediately before it expands. Now, to the most crucial question:
What is Asphalt Alligator Crack Repair?
Asphalt alligator crack repair is the process of repairing alligator cracks on asphalt paving. You can do this by yourself if the damage is of low or moderate intensity. However, if it is of high intensity, it is better to hire professionals. If you intend to do it by yourself, you can get a gallon of alligator crack patches. For high-intensity cracks, pavers will remove the top coat and fix the problem from the sub-base.
What Causes Alligator Cracks in Asphalt?
To know what causes alligator cracks in asphalt, you must understand what alligator crack is. Alligator crack is the type of damage in asphalt when the surface is cracked like the back of a gator. This is common on highways and roads but is also seen in private places. Several reasons cause asphalt alligator crack, and here are some of them:
Driving Heavy Vehicles On The Road Before It Is Cured
While it takes about two to three days for asphalt to dry, curing it is a different matter entirely. Experts agree that it takes between six to twelve months for asphalt to cure fully. The difference between dried asphalt and cured asphalt is basically in the firmness. When an asphalt pavement dries, it becomes suitable to drive on. However, the surface is not yet strong enough to withstand heavy loads.
A cured asphalt, on the other hand, is solid and ready to withstand the weight. It takes between six to twelve months to achieve this status. It is, therefore, vital that you take proper care when using your asphalt pavement within the first year.
It is advisable to avoid parking in the same spot every day if it is a private space. If it is a public road, you can put a notice for drivers to slow down when they reach the path. If there is another way, you can divert heavy-duty trucks to take that.
Leaving Some Cracks Untreated
Once you start noticing small cracks in your asphalt pavement, make moves to fix it immediately. Leaving those small cracks for a long time will expand the cracks and make them more challenging to deal with. Asphalt alligator crack repair does not come cheap, especially if it is left for too long.
Inadequate Pavement Thickness
Many reasons determine the quality of asphalt pavement. One of those reasons is the thickness of the asphalt. When the asphalt is spread too thin, it becomes easy to develop problems. Such problems include depression, unraveling, alligator cracks, and so on. Alligator cracks often occur when the asphalt isn’t durable. This is because it is unable to withstand weather conditions and heavy loads.
Leaving The Asphalt Pavement Uncared For
Asphalt is known to last a long time, usually between 20 to 30 years. If the pavement receives adequate care, it will increase its lifespan. The maintenance of asphalt pavement requires preventing snow and ice from accumulating.
Whenever it snows, use a shovel to lightly scrape the snow without putting too much strain on the asphalt. Other ways to care for asphalt include removing plants from the asphalt and applying sealants occasionally.
Cold Weather Conditions
Before installing asphalt, you should know the number one enemy of asphalt. It is none other than cold weather and all its attendant occurrences. During the cold weather, asphalt pavements suffer more damage than during other seasons.
It is also more challenging to care for asphalt during the cold seasons. This is why asphalt pavements in cold territories tend to crack more often. Cold weather phenomenons such as snow, ice, and water seep into the asphalt cause cracks.
A weak base course or subgrade is one of the most common causes of asphalt alligator crack. When the base is weak, it caves in under the pressure of heavy load and weather changes.
To put it in context, installing an asphalt pavement is like building a pyramid. When there is a problem with the base, it affects the surface. This results in issues such as alligator cracks.
The International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures opines that the primary cause of alligator crack is the weakness in the sub-base. This weakness is emphasized when the weight on the asphalt is unevenly distributed. The weight near cars’ wheels tends to make indentures in the asphalt, especially before it is cured.
Most of the problems with asphalt pavements come from mistakes made during installation. Installing asphalt may look simple at first, but it is not always so. A lot of people take the do-it-yourself way and install their asphalt by themselves. This is especially the situation if it is in a private space such as driveways.
However, a mistake in laying the sub-base may result in cracks later in the future. This way, it may be better to hire a paving company when you need a space paved.
A Combination Of Several Factors
Any of the factors listed above may cause alligator cracks. However, there are times when several of these factors come together to result in a crack. When this happens, it becomes very urgent to get the crack treated. This is also why it is crucial to take proper care of your asphalt pavement. You should constantly be on the lookout for the above-listed causes.
Why You Should Get Asphalt Alligator Crack Repaired
It is advisable to have asphalt alligator cracks repaired as soon as possible. This is because leaving the damage untended can lead to several mishaps. Here are some reasons you should get asphalt alligator crack repaired swiftly:
It Is Dangerous For Cars
Here is the most obvious. When you leave alligator cracks unrepaired, it endangers the cars driving on it. Cars and their drivers can suffer damages while going on cracked asphalt. It also damages vehicles, and the damage may accumulate over time. It may also cause accidents and loss of properties.
It Puts People At Risk
Alligator crack on asphalt is not only dangerous to cars but also pedestrians. People walking over a cracked pavement may trip and sustain injuries. In addition, if the asphalt pavement happens to be in a business environment, it may lead to financial loss.
It Worsens Over Time
When asphalt alligator crack is left untreated for a long time, it worsens. What started as cracks may degenerate into potholes or worse. It is no brainer that potholes are more dangerous than cracks. They are also more expensive to fix.
How to Repair Them
Asphalt alligator crack repair is easy once you know what to do. To properly repair asphalt alligator cracks, you need to understand the intensity of the crack. Alligator cracks can either be low-intensity, moderate-intensity or high-intensity.
For low-intensity crack, you can repair it by applying a gator patch. You can also do this for moderate-intensity crack. However, high-intensity cracks require you to hire paving companies.
If you are looking to repair alligator cracks by yourself, here are the steps to follow:
- Prevent crack from expanding: The first step is to apply crack filler or asphalt sealant to the affected area. This is to prevent the crack from expanding.
- Assess the damage: The next thing to do is look over the damage. Check how far and how deep the crack is. This will allow you to know whether you can fix it yourself or hire experts.
- Hire a paving company: If you realize that the crack is more than you can fix, hire professionals. They will evaluate the problem and see what needs to be done.
- Go to the base course: Alligator cracks mainly originate from the sub-base so that is where you should go next. When you know the cause of the problem, you may move to the next step.
- Remove the damaged parts: Either you or your contractor will have to remove the damaged parts and replace them with a new sub-base. Make sure it is stronger this time and appropriate for the intended use. A new sub-base can last up to 20 years.
- Repair the asphalt surface: With the new sub-base ready to go two more decades, it is time to repair the surface. Once you have the surface fixed, allow it to dry before use. Also, ensure that the asphalt is given time to cure.
If you follow the proper steps, it does not take long to repair alligator cracks. On average, it only takes a couple of days. However, if you use recycled asphalt, it will take just a few hours.
Cost to Repair Alligator Cracks
Repairing alligator cracks is not necessarily expensive. Depending on your budget and the intensity of the crack, you can fix it quickly. If you plan to repair the damage by yourself, it would not cost you much. All you have to do is buy the necessary materials and get to work.
The materials needed to repair a gator crack include:
- Alligator asphalt patch
- Asphalt sealer
- Asphalt squeegee
The cost of the repair goes up if you have to hire some labor. You may have to pay per hour for hired hands, but it will make your work faster. Hiring labor would also reduce the workload on you and allow you to work more effectively.
If you are hiring a paving company, it may cost slightly more. However, the cost is justified in the quality of the work. Paving companies usually charge per square foot. Ask your contractor for a quote.
Prevention is better than cure. This goes to say that it is better to prevent your asphalt pavement from getting cracks. It is undoubtedly cheaper to maintain the space before it gets cracked than to fix cracks. You can extend the lifespan of asphalt surfaces if you take proper care of them. Here are some of the ways to extend the life of asphalt surfaces.
To prevent asphalt alligator cracks, you need to care for your asphalt surface properly. This is especially important during cold weather. The cold weather can significantly damage asphalt pavements, and you must be on alert. It is also more difficult to repair asphalt during cold weather. Therefore, you should try to know more about repairing asphalt in cold weather.
Even if you have experienced asphalt alligator cracks, you can prevent it from happening again. You can do this by applying a sealant to your asphalt pavement occasionally. You can seal your asphalt every two to three years.
Paving Companies Around
If you are looking to hire experts to pave your driveway or fix alligator cracks, look no further. There is a list of paving companies in our directory to help you. Our directory contains paving companies from every state in the country. Next, you can look through the websites of the ones closest to you. After that, all you have to do is sit back and let the experts do their job.
By now, you must have seen that asphalt alligator crack repair is no rocket science. Once you know the cause and intensity of the crack, the rest is simple. Fix the crack either by yourself or hire a paving company.
Also, fix alligator cracks before they expand to prevent them from worsening. You may save costs if you know how to maintain the asphalt pavement so it may last. You should also take preventive measures where necessary.