What Causes Driveways to Crack?

July 13, 2021

When a driveway is first installed, it looks great—it’s perfectly smooth and unblemished by the elements. Over time, though, cracking and fading is bound to appear. If left unattended, these cracks can expand and become potholes that degrade the appearance and functionality of your driveway. You may be wondering what causes these cracks in the first place and how to resolve them. Let’s take a look at the leading reasons cracks happen and how driveway resurfacing can take care of them.

Winter weather

Icy, cold weather is one of the leading causes of asphalt cracks. That’s because natural processes and reactions over the months, along with temperature swings, are tough on driveways. Asphalt is liable to crack when changes in moisture retention and temperature occur. For example, following rain or snowfall, moisture can seep into the asphalt and into the ground. Changes in temperature then result in moisture expanding, which leads to cracks.

The freeze-and-thaw cycle that’s so common in winter is going to cause most of this damage. That said, the weather will still cause damage to your driveway for the rest of the year.

Sun damage

Winter is a tough time for your driveway, but the summer months pose other hazards. High heat may lead the asphalt to expand and then result in cracks forming. The longer summer days combined with higher temperatures are likely to result in damage as well. When these cracks are left to fester, they can become much bigger and pose structural issues for your driveway.

Other issues

Beyond weather-related problems, other common hazards include the ground shifting and the age of the asphalt. The earth may shift below the asphalt. While asphalt driveways are typically laid over a bed of gravel, the natural movement of the earth can shift the base and cause cracks to form.

The age of the asphalt also plays a role in the damage to your driveway. Older asphalt will begin to degrade and no longer retain its ability to withstand the elements. When rain and snow come along, the asphalt won’t be able to deal with freeze-and-thaw cycles, meaning that they’re more likely to suffer damage.

How to prevent cracks

One thing you can do is inspect the driveway regularly to see if there are small cracks forming. It’s best to alert a paving contractor while the problem is still small. The other thing you can do is have driveway resurfacing on a regular basis. This will provide your asphalt with maximum protection so that it stays looking great and doesn’t crumble before its time.

For the leading paving contractor in the area, check out Paveco Inc. We’re a family-owned and -operated company that has been providing asphalt and paving services to residential and commercial properties since 1958. The owner is personally involved in every aspect of each project, and each job is staffed by a team of experienced professionals using only the best equipment and materials. Call us today to learn more and get a free quote for your paving project!

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