What is alligator cracking?

in need of asphalt crack repair in Austin, TX
In the asphalt industry, alligator cracking refers to a surface damaged in such a way that the cracks form a pattern that looks like reptile scales, most notably those on an alligator or crocodile’s back. The pattern usually begins with longitudinal cracks, which are then connected by transverse cracks. These create geometric shapes that are normally interconnected and which can spread over a wide area in a relatively brief period.

Alligator cracking is one of the most serious issues that can affect an asphalt surface in Austin.  It is one of the most costly problems to repair — but it is also preventable in most cases. Assuming that the initial installation was corrected performed, alligator cracking is almost always the result of neglecting to make needed repairs and protect the surface with a sealant.

Asphalt has a certain amount of flexibility that enables it to “give” under loads and then spring back. To perform properly, the surface must have a strong, stable foundation. When asphalt develops cracks, water can seep beneath the asphalt and destabilize the foundation. Lacking the support needed, cracks become more extensive, more water reaches the foundation and a larger area of the asphalt is compromised to the point that it can no longer withstand the weight and pressure of the vehicles driving across it. The asphalt becomes “alligatored” and will need to be removed and then replaced after the foundation is repaired.

Patching alligatored asphalt is a temporary solution that is preferable to ignoring the issue. Therefore, if there is a legitimate reason for delaying the removal and replacement of the asphalt — such as the need to keep an area open to traffic during a major event — it can be attempted. Keep in mind, however, that this will not fix the problem permanently and that the asphalt may continue to deteriorate underneath the patch, especially if it is subjected to constant traffic or heavy loads.

At Alpha Paving Industries, we excel at helping customers find ways to extend the life of their asphalt surfaces. We offer customers throughout Central Texas a full range of asphalt paving and maintenance surfaces. Asphalt crack repair and other types of asphalt repairs can help your pavement last longer, but should you need to replace your alligatored asphalt, we can handle that as well. We also provide sealcoating, parking lot marking, signage, power washing, sandblasting and parking stops. You can reach us at (512) 677-9001, or you can use the form found on our website to request a free quote.

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