Block Cracking: What is It and What Can We Do About It?
Unlike other types of asphalt wear or cracking, block cracking is found frequently on surfaces that experience minimal use, like low-volume road pavement, residential driveways, or parking spaces.
What Is Block Cracking?
You can identify block cracking by a combination of longitudinal and transverse cracks that divide the pavement up into chunks, some as small as a foot and others as large as several yards square. These cracks then deepen and spread, allowing in moisture and vegetation growth to further degrade the surface.
Block cracking is extremely rough, and as it worsens it can leave an area unfit for foot traffic or vehicle use.
What Causes Block Cracking?
As mentioned, block cracking generally doesn’t occur due to traffic weight or wear and tear from use. Instead, block cracking has to do with the asphalt binding agent—the oil-based glue that holds the pavement together on a structural and chemical level.
As the binder ages, it hardens and grows brittle, and the pavement contracts slightly. When temperatures begin to change, the pavement isn’t able to flex the way it used to, causing chunks to snap and tear away as the heat forces portions to expand or cold forces them to shrink.
Premature block cracking can also result when the binder wasn’t chosen correctly, or if there was a problem with the asphalt manufacturing process.
Can Block Cracking be Corrected?
The quicker the problem is identified the easier the repair process will be. If cracks are small, less than half an inch across, they can be sealed to prevent any further raveling and keep moisture out of the subgrade. This can add years to the pavement’s lifespan after block cracking occurs.
However, if the cracks are wider than half an inch across, it is generally better to remove the pavement layer as a whole in favor of an overlay, to provide a stable and useful surface that won’t continue to degrade and damage the subgrade layers.
Call for Service Today!
Stripe A Lot offers comprehensive asphalt paving services in Holland and greater West Michigan. If your asphalt pavement has experienced cracking or damage, contact our team to schedule your appointment today.