Asphalt is a popular choice for driveways, roads, and parking lots due to its durability and affordability. However, despite its strength, asphalt can still crack and deteriorate over time due to various reasons. Here are five common causes of asphalt cracks and what can be done to prevent them.
Poor Quality and Installation
The quality of materials used and the expertise of the contractor installing the asphalt play a crucial role in the longevity of the pavement. Poor quality materials or substandard installation can cause the asphalt to crack or break down over time. When selecting a contractor, be sure to do your research and choose a reputable company with a proven track record of high-quality work. Additionally, make sure they use high-grade, quality materials to ensure a longer lifespan for your pavement.
Exposure to UV Rays and Gasoline
Asphalt is naturally susceptible to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which can cause it to become brittle and prone to cracking. Gasoline spills can also damage the surface of the pavement, particularly if left untreated. Gasoline contains chemicals that can break down the asphalt and cause it to soften, leading to cracks and potholes. To protect your pavement from these elements, it’s important to clean up gasoline spills quickly and to sealcoat your pavement every three years.
Asphalt expands and contracts with temperature changes, which can cause it to crack over time. Extreme fluctuations in temperature, such as those experienced during harsh winters or hot summers, can cause chemical reactions that weaken the asphalt and cause it to crumble. To prevent damage from fluctuating temperatures, be sure to sealcoat your pavement regularly, particularly before winter arrives.
Asphalt is designed to withstand the weight and pressure of vehicles and foot traffic, but heavy use can cause it to break down and form cracks. Over time, the weight of heavy vehicles or constant foot traffic can cause the pavement to weaken and deteriorate. To prevent damage from heavy traffic, consider installing a thicker layer of asphalt or using a more durable mix of materials. Additionally, sealcoating your pavement every few years can provide extra protection against wear and tear.
Tree roots can grow under the asphalt and cause it to crack and heave. As the roots grow, they can push against the pavement, causing it to crack and shift. To prevent root intrusion, it’s important to plant trees and shrubs away from the pavement, particularly those with aggressive root systems. If you already have trees planted near your pavement, consider installing a root barrier to prevent the roots from penetrating the asphalt.
In conclusion, asphalt is a durable and affordable paving option, but it requires proper maintenance to prevent cracks and deterioration. By selecting high-quality materials, hiring a reputable contractor, and performing regular maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your pavement and avoid costly repairs down the line. If you notice cracks or damage to your pavement, it’s important to address them as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration.
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