What are the common causes behind pavement cracking?

Lifestyle | 19 Jul |

A pavement undergoes heavy-duty environmental weathering throughout its lifespan caused by constant exposure to sunlight, rain, and even chemicals. Over time, it can lead to the development of cracks in the pavement. Other than dampening the appearance of the beautiful pavements, cracking can also open the floodgate to numerous other problems that might increase the propensity for accidents. Herein lies the necessity of identifying the factors which lead to pavement cracking so that you can schedule a quick repair. Read on to know about the same:

Moisture 

This is one of the biggest triggers of pavement cracking. Moisture can cause the pavement to break down immediately after seeping into the same. Exposure to moisture washes away the gravel and sand base of pavements making them brittle and developing cracks in the asphalt. Heavy snow and rainfall lead to the penetration of water into existing cracks resulting in their expansion. You can protect your pavement from water damage by scheduling regular maintenance and investing in seal coating and crack sealing with asphalt crack repair tape.

Sunlight

Did you know that prolonged sun exposure can diminish the longevity of the pavements! A harsh sun ray causes the pavements to become brittle by drying up the moisture content. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic can further add fuel to the fire by creating more pressure on the pavement and lead to the development of cracks. Choosing superior grade asphalt material can add to the strength of the pavement and make it more resistant to the elements of weather, be it during summer or the sunny winter days. Tropical regions receiving more sunlight are highly susceptible to pavement cracks caused by the UV rays. This is why the pavement maintenance requirements spiral up in such places. 

Age

Regular maintenance of the pavements becomes a must especially after the passage of a large number of years. The first signs of aging appear at the edges followed by the center of your pavement. Newer materials are more resistant to damages but start showing signs of fatigue over time. As asphalt ages, it loses its natural flexibility and becomes weaker which makes it more prone to cracking. Damage occurs whenever gravity exerts greater pressure over the pavement and water accumulation in even the smallest of cracks can cause major problems in due course. 

Ground Movement

The gravel layer of the ground comprises your pavement base. Your asphalt might end up developing cracks if the ground shifts. Natural events such as floods and earthquakes and seasonal factors like frost, rain, and soil erosion are known to shift the ground beneath the pavement and ultimately lead to cracks. 

Fatigue Cracking

This is a problem that is commonly associated with parking lots. Also known as ‘alligator cracking’ it is triggered when heavy vehicles are parked in one place over extended periods. You can solve this problem by undertaking routine asphalt paving repair. Moving heavy vehicles frequently can also serve as a viable solution to this problem. Ensuring proper drainage conditions can add to the lifespan of your pavement. 

Freezing and Thawing

Winter cycles are synonymous with the freezing and thawing cycle which can induce the pavement to shift. Rainwater that seeps into cracks freezes at the onset of winter and causes the cracks to grow bigger. The summer season melts the ice and moves the water deeper inside the cracks which expand again in the following cycle. 

Final Words

Asphalt is a popular choice of pavement which can render attractive results. The appearance of cracks can dampen the look and feel of your beautiful pavement. Once you identify the causes listed above, you will be in a better position to offer solutions.

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