This blog will discuss common causes why new asphalt driveways crack and how you can protect your asphalt driveway.
Concrete is a durable surface that is common in most homes in Rochester, NY. Though durable, concrete driveways do depreciate and develop cracks over time. Cracks may occur soon after installation or develop after some time. Several reasons and circumstances cause cracks to develop on concrete driveways.
Common Causes of Cracked Driveways in Rochester, NY
Poor Foundation and Base Installation
Cracks on your driveway can occur due to a faulty foundation. A driveway’s base is typically made from tightly packed gravel followed by an aggregate base. And after it, the driveway surface. If the foundation or the base is loose or contains sand that erodes, your driveway will develop cracks.
Tree Root Growth
As tree roots in your property grow, they spread under the driveway and exert pressure from below. To relieve the stress, the surface of your driveway will crack as the base layers and foundation move upward.
Freeze and thaw
Your asphalt driveway can also crack with repeated cycles of freezing and thawing. This usually happens when the snow melts and when there’s a downpour that causes water to seep below your asphalt surfaces. When this water freezes, it expands and exerts pressure on your asphalt driveway. Don’t apply rock salt to the driveway in winter s this worsens the problem. Salt penetrates the driveway and absorbs additional water.
Concrete tends to expand when subjected to heat, which can cause the asphalt pavement or driveway to crack. As the concrete heats up, it expands and pushes upwards and outwards. The force of the expanding concrete will eventually relieve the pressure that’s building up.
Settling cracks usually occur when there’s a space or cavity below the driveway. The driveway’s weight itself plus the weight of the vehicle driving above will cause the ground to shift downwards and fill the void. The driveway will ultimately crack as the asphalt surface settles into the adjusted ground. When settling happens, it’s not always due to poor installation. It could be your neighbor or even you removed a ree and the roots beneath the driveway decomposed. Or a utility service provider performed some work near the driveway but didn’t compact the soil before they left.
Crumbling and cracking around the edges of your driveway indicate that the asphalt is too thin in those places. It’s common for the asphalt to spread beyond the aggregate base during laying, creating a narrow strip of asphalt that doesn’t have a solid foundation. While these edge cracks aren’t dangerous, they are unsightly. One way to remedy this is to hire a driveway specialist to remove the cracked edges, recompact the foundation, lay a brick edging, then lay new asphalt between the existing driveway and the brick.
Excessive Use of Sealers or substandard asphalt mix
Spiderweb or alligator cracks in an asphalt driveway indicate that the contractor used a low-quality asphalt mix or that the previous homeowners had the driveway repeatedly coated with sealers. This is because the cost to seal an asphalt driveway is significantly less than fixing the underlying issue and bearing the cost of replacing an asphalt driveway. The only way to fix this issue is to remove the asphalt layer, recompact the base, and lay new asphalt.
Ways to Stop Asphalt Driveway from Cracking
- Adding control joints – Even if you allow your concrete driveway to properly cure after pouring, it may still crack. This is because of the water that disappears in the hydration process. For this reason, it is important to add control joints. Control joints are weak spots that you cut intentionally into the slab of your driveway to pre-empt future cracks. They direct the cracks towards them instead of them occurring on the larger body of the property. There are three ways of adding control joints. You can use concrete grooving tools to ply the concrete when still wet. You can insert expansion joint strips of flexible wood when pouring the concrete. Lastly, you can cut the joints a day after pouring them using a concrete saw blade.
- Properly curing the concrete – Concrete usually takes 28 days to cure completely. During this time is something you need to do in the first few days. The concrete binding agent cement cures gradually. It has to retain moisture for it to reach its full strength. To minimize the risk of cracks in the concrete, spray it with water every day for the first week. The amount of water you use will depend on the weather of the day.
- Compacting the base – You must have a compact base before mixing the concrete that you will use. Without a compact base, a void will develop under the concrete driveway which will eventually develop cracks.
- Using enough water – Using too much water in the concrete mix makes it weak heightening the chances of cracks. The mixture must neither be too watery nor too dry.
- Using reinforcements – Concrete is strong on its own but you can make it stronger with come steel reinforcements. Do this by adding rebar in grid patterns sitting approximately halfway through the concrete slab.
Preventing Asphalt Cracks with Sealant and Other Techniques
Left unfilled, cracks will allow rain and moisture to flow through the pavement and erode base materials ultimately resulting in potholes and pavement failure. Filling cracks with crack filler helps prevent rain and moisture from flowing through the pavement and causing erosion or failure.
You need to seal the cracks on your driveway to prevent any further damage. This should be part of the ongoing maintenance of your driveway. You must perform this sort of maintenance regularly. Some concrete repair companies offer crack sealing as a part of their after-sales customer satisfaction service package. Periodical sealing of your driveway and patio prolongs its life. Most contractors in Rochester, NY, recommend that you do this concrete driveway repair approximately every three years.
The best time to work on your driveway or patio repair is between May and October in Rochester NY. This varies from place to place. Ensure that there are no chances of precipitation on the day you pick to do the project. This is because the seal coat needs an estimate of 12 hours without disturbance from the elements to cure properly.
Crack sealing can be used for cracks wider than ⅛ of an inch, including block, edge, longitudinal, reflective, thermal, or transverse cracking. Crack sealing can be used for cracks wider than ⅛ of an inch, including block, edge, longitudinal, reflective, thermal, or transverse cracking
Cold Applied Crack Filling and Sealing provides an efficient, economical and effective approach to filling and sealing cracks in asphalt pavement. Hot Pour Crack Filling & Sealing?
Hot pour cracking involves heated up blocks of rubberized asphalt in a specially designed oil-jacketed melter and then applying the heated material to cracks in roads and parking lots. Hot pour crack filling and sealing is generally done on roads and highways and in many cases, on parking lots. Hot pour offers the advantage of quick set times (10 minutes or less). Once the hot pour material cools you can drive on it.
Crack sealing is the application of a sealer to asphalt to prevent future water intrusion and thereby damage. Crack filling, on the other hand, is the act of placing fillers into cracks to avoid water incursion while also assuring road reinforcement.
The time it takes for such goods to dry, however, varies depending on the solutions utilized. Some crack fillers can take days to dry, but others can be driven on immediately.
Have Unsightly Cracks on Your Asphalt Pavement or Surface? Contact the Sealcoating Professionals in Rochester!
Don’t let slippage, stress, surface, transverse, hairline, and slippage cracks on the asphalt driveway make your exterior look. At Northeastern Paving & Sealcoating, we can determine the type of crack and use long-lasting asphalt sealant to repair the cracks. Sealing the crack will prevent the crack from re-opening.
If you noticed the problem yourself or received a repair notice from the city contact us! We dispatch our team of experts quickly and promptly to assess the situation and start the repairs. We handle the repair up to all current codes, protecting you from unnecessary fines and headaches. Contact us today at 585-544-4372 to schedule service.