Asphalt Deterioration: The Top 5 Reasons Your Driveway is Cracking

Asphalt Deterioration | Ajax Paving | FL & MI - iStock-496119890Whether you live in Michigan with lots of snow and subsequent salting of the roads or you live in the hot Florida heat where the sun beats down on pavement, deteriorated asphalt is a very common problem. Though this is an unavoidable issue to have, there are steps you can take to maintain the integrity of your driveway and prevent future damage.

At Ajax Paving, road quality and safety are our top priority. Ajax is your source for all pavement needs, whether that be supplying contractors with paving necessities or seeing an asphalt driveway project through from start to finish. We want to ensure your driveway stays intact for years to come, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the most common reasons your asphalt can deteriorate and how you can detect it early.

Signs Your Asphalt is Deteriorating

In just a few years, you could notice visible decline in the condition of your asphalt driveway. When exposed to the elements or poorly installed, the binding agent within the asphalt begins to break down, allowing for penetration of moisture from all angles.

If you’ve noticed any of the following issues in your driveway, you may want to consider contacting a professional like Ajax Paving.

  • Cracking
  • Distortion
  • Potholes
  • Rutting
  • Disintegration

Five Reasons for Asphalt Deterioration

Asphalt is not an indestructible material—damage is common and natural. Over time, asphalt loses its natural resistance and will inevitably need repairs, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be informed of what causes deterioration.

Lack of Maintenance

It’s normal for asphalt to dissolve and crack over time, but with little to no maintenance, you’ll begin to notice deterioration occurring quicker. By implementing a maintenance routine, professionals like Ajax Paving can identify cracks and water damage, and seal coat the areas that require a bit of extra attention.

We recommend you monitor any cracks you’ve noticed to determine if the condition is worsening or staying the same. If the issue persists, you may have hidden damage below the surface that needs immediate attention.

Inadequate Pavement Thickness

The thickness of your pavement matters in order to properly transport vehicles overtop. Surface asphalt should be at least two inches thick in order to stand up to moisture and heavy traffic. If the asphalt has been poured too thinly, you’ll notice extensive cracking as the months progress.

Heavy Traffic Loads

Though your driveway is designed to escort your vehicle from your home to the road, it’s not meant to hold extreme amounts of weight. The thickness in your driveway versus a main road is significant and shouldn’t be overestimated to handle heavy machinery or uncontrolled traffic. 

Pavement damage can occur if the soil underneath the base layer of asphalt is clay-based instead of stone. If you begin to notice ruts in your driveway after a heavy round of rainfall, this may be a sign the subgrade isn’t able to support the weight.

Exposure to the Elements

Severe weather and climate conditions make all the difference in how your asphalt driveway will hold up over the years. When there is overexposure to sunlight, heat, extreme cold, and water, your driveway can quickly take a turn for the worse. 

When exhibited to the sun’s rays, asphalt can dry out through the process of oxidation. The asphalt that was once a solid “liquid” substance begins to shrivel up and separate, causing cracks and potholes that allow water from drains or rainfall to seap underneath—this eventually breaks up the asphalt and the compacted layer below.

Additionally, chemical exposure can pose a big risk to your asphalt driveway. Gasoline, motor oil, and other chemicals have the potential to leak from cars onto the driveway, leaving harsh stains and dissolving the asphalt’s top layer.

Poor Base Layer

Humans aren’t perfect and accidents do happen. If your driveway is experiencing noticeable cracks, grooves, and deterioration, it could be the cause of human error. If the leveled base below the layer of asphalt pavement is poorly compacted, exposure to the elements can cause the driveway to shift and crack at an accelerated rate. 

Repair Your Weathered Asphalt with Ajax Paving

In business since 1951, Ajax Paving provides award-winning quality products and services to each of our customers. As an asphalt and concrete solutions provider for Michigan, Florida, and the Midwest, our professionals know how to handle all your driveway deterioration needs. Whether you’re in need of asphalt sealing or base layer replacement, our team can help.

Our state-of-the-art equipment, combined with unparalleled expertise, makes us one of the most sought after companies for the highly-specialized work required for both commercial and residential jobs. We’re ready to tackle the toughest asphalt jobs around, so contact us today to get started.