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  • Writer's pictureDevon Marino

Understanding and Preventing the Different Types of Pavement Cracking

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Pavement cracking is a common problem that affects the durability and safety of asphalt surfaces. In this article, we will cover the different types of pavement cracking and provide recommendations for preventing and repairing them.

Block Cracking

  1. , Block cracking is characterized by squares or circles of cracks in the asphalt surface. This type of cracking occurs when the pavement installer uses old mix or mix that was too dry when the asphalt surface was laid. To repair block cracking, thin overlays or surface treatments can be used to seal the cracks and restore the integrity of the asphalt.

Edge Cracking,

Edge cracking appears along the outside edges of the pavement and is typically long and runs in the direction of the road. This type of cracking is caused by poor drainage, heavy vegetation, or excessive traffic. To repair edge cracking, asphalt crack seal or asphalt emulsion can be used. Additionally, drainage around the asphalt should be improved, and all vegetation should be removed from the edges of the paved surface.

Fatigue Cracking,

  1. Cracking Linear cracking occurs along the joints of the pavement, while transverse cracking occurs across the pavement. These types of cracking are caused by improperly constructed joints between two sections, shrinkage of the asphalt surface, temperature fluctuations, or cracks in one or more of the sub-layers. To prevent water from seeping into the asphalt and underlying layers, drainage should be improved around the surface, and cracks should be filled with a combination of asphalt and sand or emulsion slurry.

Slippage Cracks,

Slippage cracks look like the asphalt is slipping along the surface of the pavement and are characterized by wrinkles and deep open gaps. This type of cracking occurs when the top layer fails to adhere correctly to the layer beneath it or too much sand was used in the asphalt mix. Slippage cracks need either full or partial depth patches, depending on the severity of the crack and amount of slippage along the surface.

  1. Corrugations, Corrugations are characterized by lumps and bumps in the paved surface and are caused by pavement mixtures that are excessively high in asphalt and contamination and moisture in the base. To repair corrugations, the affected areas should be cut out, and full-depth patches should be applied.

  2. Rutting, Rutting is characterized by indentations along the wheel paths of cars and is caused by compression of the surface layers, insufficient compaction during install, or moisture infiltration. Rutting is typically repaired by applying cold mill and an overlay or a thin surface patch to fill in and level the roadway.

  3. Grade Depressions Grade depressions are characterized by sections of the pavement settling lower than the surrounding pavement. These can be identified easily after a rain shower because water pools in the depressions. Depressions are caused by the lower layers settling or failing and improper installation of the surface. Grade depressions are repaired with overlay or infrared patches and cold mill.

  4. Potholes occur when previous pavement damage, including cracks, patch failures, swelling, or rutting, has been left to worsen. Heavy traffic, salting, and snow removal can aggravate pothole damage, creating a hazard for your car. Pothole damage is more apparent in the spring and early summer when the ice, snow, and salt effectively fill the potholes during the winter. Until those potholes are repaired, it’s important to remain vigilant by watching your speed and avoiding potholes when you can. Depending on the severity of the potholes, they can be patched, filled, or cut out and replaced with full-depth patches. Cold mix asphalt is a recommended solution for filling and repairing potholes.

  5. Conclusion Pavement cracking can be a major problem for property owners and drivers alike. By understanding the different types of pavement cracking and implementing preventive measures, we can reduce the likelihood of pavement cracking and maintain the safety and durability of our pavement surfaces. If you are experiencing pavement cracking, contact a professional asphalt company for an evaluation and repair recommendations.

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