Asphalt is a practical, durable parking lot material. High-quality asphalt can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years when properly installed and cared for by a pavement professional.
So, what causes long-lasting asphalt surfaces to deteriorate? Unfortunately, a wide range of factors can contribute to cracked, crumbling, or damaged asphalt. Some cracks are weather-related, others from heavy loads, and some are caused by installation errors.
To help you pinpoint the issues that may be impacting your asphalt’s performance, here’s a look at the most common reasons asphalt cracks or crumbles.
Reasons Your Asphalt May Crack or Crumble
When the material underneath your asphalt doesn’t provide adequate support initially or begins to settle over time, the surface may begin to crumble.
This problem often occurs at the outer edges of your parking lot, creating edge cracks, or can happen in the center of your parking lot. Settling material can also create concave depressions in your pavement.
Unfortunately, poor installation can cause your asphalt to crumble or crack prematurely. This issue usually occurs when your contractor places your new asphalt over an old, cracked, or jointed pavement structure or when low-quality, non-adhesive materials are used.
Typically, improper installation results in reflection cracks—crumbling on the surface that reflects the damaged pavement underneath the asphalt.
Faulty installation can also result in slippage cracking—crescent-shaped cracks that occur when a low-grade asphalt mix with poor bonding abilities is used on your parking lot.
If you live in a climate that has extreme temperatures, your pavement may be more susceptible to deterioration. Freeze and thaw cycles inhibit your asphalt’s ability to expand and contract properly, resulting in a crumbling parking lot. Additionally, rock salt, used to manage ice and snow on pathways, roads, and driveways, can accelerate the damage already caused by freeze-thaw cycles.
You may notice several types of asphalt cracking related to temperature. Transverse cracks perpendicular to the centerline are often caused when the asphalt shrinks because it can’t handle the area’s weather conditions.
Additionally, block cracks, large rectangular or square cracks on the asphalt’s surface, occur during extreme temperature cycles and are also caused by asphalt shrinkage.
Your pavement supports a significant amount of weight created by hefty vehicles. Unfortunately, when your asphalt’s base, subgrade, or surface is too weak or thin, your asphalt may crack.
Typically, heavy loads cause fatigue cracking, also known as alligator cracking, since these small, interconnected cracks resemble an alligator’s scaly skin.
Moisture can be detrimental to your parking lot’s longevity. Since water is a non-adhesive substance, it can reduce the strength and durability of your asphalt, making your asphalt more prone to cracking.
Plus, when water seeps into your asphalt and refreezes, it can cause your asphalt to crack. Often, slippage cracks and block cracks occur in the presence of excess moisture.
When your asphalt parking lot is installed initially, the surrounding trees or plants may not be a concern. However, tree roots and shrubs may eventually grow through your pavement, causing asphalt cracks.
Typically, vegetation growth occurs near the outer perimeter of your parking lot, resulting in edge cracks. However, if your parking lot is built around a tree, you may have asphalt damage from vegetation growth in the center of your lot, too.
Your asphalt is frequently exposed to chemicals like gas, oil, and petroleum. These residues soften your asphalt, making it more vulnerable to surface-related cracks and crumbling.
Battle Asphalt Damage with Our Preventative Pavement Maintenance Program
As a property owner, many factors that cause asphalt cracks, crumbling, and deterioration are entirely out of your control. However, there is one investment you can make to keep your asphalt in great shape for decades—the Preventative Pavement Maintenance Program.
EverLine Coatings is fully committed to the long-term success of your property. We created the Preventative Pavement Maintenance Program so you can double the lifespan of your pavement, eliminate the hassle of asphalt upkeep, and keep your parking lot looking great, even when asphalt damage occurs.
Our industry-leading maintenance program includes:
- Sweeping to wipe away leaves, branches, and debris from your asphalt’s surface.
- Power washing to remove oil, gas, and other substances to make your parking lot sparkling clean.
- Asphalt repair to fix cracks, crumbling, potholes, and other types of deterioration.
- Seal coating to fill small crevices while giving your parking lot an attractive, lasting, waterproof finish.
- Line painting with durable, vibrant traffic paint to improve traffic flow and minimize liabilities in your parking lot.
Repair Your Damaged Asphalt Parking Lot with EverLine Coatings
Whether you’re struggling with crumbling asphalt due to freeze and thaw cycles or fatigue cracking from heavy loads—our experienced team can help you restore your parking lot to a safe, attractive state.