Asphalt pavements crack as the surface ages. Cracking is typically caused by the asphalt pavement surface, simply age hardening with time and the pavement then cannot move and flex as it was designed to. Asphalt is designed to be a flexible pavement surface, being able to flex with traffic loads and move with the expansion and contraction of the normal weather cycles. Once the asphalt pavement becomes harder and less flexible the asphalt pavement surface will crack as it cannot bend and flex with traffic loading and the weather contractions and expansions from heat and cold. No asphalt pavement is immune to cracking. Cracks in the asphalt pavement surface will typically begin to appear in about 5 to 8 years after the initial asphalt pavement has been placed. The cracks will appear more frequently and the existing surface cracks becoming larger with time.
A note that is important to consider in preserving a new asphalt pavement and slowing the age hardening is and application of a seal coat. Asphalt pavement surfaces crack less and less often when surface seals are applied early in the life of the new asphalt pavement. Surface sealing and protective applications including AMERICOAT seal coat and the city and county specification polymer modified asphalt slurry seals are very effective applications in preserving and protecting the new asphalt pavement surface.
When an asphalt pavement surface cracks, water from rain and irrigation can drain down into the supporting base material under the asphalt softening the base allowing added surface movement. Additionally, dirt and debris can get into the open crack. These conditions will cause the asphalt to fail and or deteriorate earlier than is expected. If the cracks are left untreated the cracks will be the start of additional and continued degradation and damage to the asphalt pavement surface.
When and what should be done when an asphalt cracks and how are cracks to be treated? Crack sealing should be performed early in the life of the asphalt pavement when the cracks are beginning to appear, minimal in size and small in width, about ¼ of an inch wide. Crack sealing is the process of placing a hot rubberized flexible and adhesive sealant in the asphalt pavement cracks. The rubber sealant will prevent the water and debris from getting into the crack. The asphalt rubber in the crack will move and expand with the normal asphalt pavement surface movement and flexing preventing additional surface damage.
American Pavement Preservation encourages everyone who is responsible for the care and preservation of an asphalt surface, being a parking lot or a street to crack seal early and often as needed to keep the asphalt pavement surface from failing resulting in costly repairs.
Please contact us for a free pavement evaluation. Let us help you preserve your asphalt pavement surface and simply save you money.