How to Handle Alligator Cracking

How to Handle Alligator Cracking

Noticing a distinctive cracking pattern in your asphalt that looks like the scales on an alligator’s back? You need to take some immediate steps to prevent further damage. This is called “alligator cracking” or “asphalt fatigue”. It is a serious and common problem that can quickly lead to more significant issues. Read on to learn more about alligator cracking and what you can do to address it.

What Causes Alligator Cracking?

Alligator cracking is caused due to issues with the sub-base beneath the asphalt. It could be that the sub-base was not properly, or it was not thick enough. Even if your top layer of asphalt was properly laid and sound, a poor sub-base will not be able to support it when under pressure.

What to Do When You First Spot Alligator Cracking

The very first step you can take when you notice alligator cracking is to apply a crack sealer or look into seal coating. This by no means will fix the root cause of your issues. It will, however, slow the spread of the problem until you can arrange for a real solution. Eliminating or reducing the weight your driveway sees can also help. Finally, try to keep traffic to a minimum over the affected area. This can be hard, we know, based on where the defect is, but it’s worth a try to extend the time until you need to pay for repairs. Once you have implemented these “band-aid” measures, contact a trusted local paving contractor to help come up with a permanent solution that addresses the root cause.

What Will a Contractor Do?

A knowledgeable paving contractor will have to dig into the affected area of asphalt to troubleshoot and identify solutions to your problem.

  • Identify the problem – Your contractor will carefully assess the damage and identify the source of the problem. This will help determine the repair options needed.
  • Access the sub-base – To thoroughly diagnose the problem, your contractor will dig through the asphalt and evaluate the condition of the sub-base. This will allow them to determine the underlying issues causing your problem and how to repair the sub-base to prevent further damage.
  • Repairs – If your cracking issues are only in certain sections of your driveway, your contractor may be able to remove just those sections to make the repairs. If cracking is widespread, you may face total driveway removal with a new sub-base installation and surfacing. Sometimes, this is the most cost-effective way to implement necessary repairs.

If alligator cracking has infiltrated your driveway, it’s time to give us a call. You can trust J. McDonald Contracting to provide incomparable quality and honest, trustworthy guidance. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your next paving job!