What Causes Asphalt Cracks and How Do You Prevent Them?

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Are you worried about cracks in your asphalt pavement?

Cracks are one of the most common types of pavement damage. While these blemishes don’t automatically mean trouble for your pavement, they can often be more threatening than they appear. If neglected, cracks will only continue to grow until they connect with other cracks and develop into potholes.

Keep reading to learn how cracks are most often formed, as well as some important maintenance tips you can use to prevent them!

What Causes Asphalt Cracks?

Typically, cracks in your asphalt pavement are caused by one of four factors:


As ultraviolet rays (UV) rays beat down on the surface of your pavement, they can cause the asphalt’s aggregate materials to dry out and break apart. As this process occurs, your asphalt will become increasingly brittle. Eventually, it will start to crack—particularly when combined with the weight of heavy traffic.


When water enters your pavement, it can cause the base to slowly shift and wash away. This issue is compounded when there are already cracks in your asphalt or when you’re dealing with drainage problems. More water will be allowed to penetrate the surface and reach the lower levels of your pavement.


Of course, earthquakes can cause your pavement to fracture; but there are other, more common ground movements that cause cracking. The ground may settle, the soil may erode, or the weight of traffic may create movement. Additionally, the freeze-thaw cycle can cause your asphalt to expand and contract until it buckles and breaks.


There are all types of fuel, oils, and other products that can cause your asphalt paving to deteriorate. In Toronto, we commonly see this with road salt and other harmful de-icing products. These agents will accelerate the oxidation process and cause more cracks to form in your asphalt.

How Do You Prevent Asphalt Cracks?

Ready to stop cracks in their tracks? Here are several helpful tips that will help you ward them off!

Hire a Trusted Toronto Asphalt Paving Company

If your surface is designed and constructed by an experienced paving contractor, it will be compacted for maximum durability—making your asphalt less susceptible to premature cracking.

Invest in Regular Maintenance

By sweeping and washing your pavement regularly, you can prevent chemicals, oils, dirt, and debris from speeding up the deterioration of your asphalt.

Keep an Eye Out for Standing Water

Standing water is one of the main culprits of cracking. If you see puddles on your pavement, ask a Toronto asphalt paving company to inspect your surface.

Seal Cracks as Soon as Possible

If you spot any cracks in your pavement, regardless of size, have your local paving company apply a sealant. By promptly filling these cracks, you can prevent alligator cracking from developing down the road and causing you to incur costly repairs.

If you have noticed cracks in your asphalt pavement or need repairs of any kind, contact the experts at Empire Paving today!

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