Alligator cracking is a term commonly used to describe the distinctive appearance of an asphalt surface that has suffered fatigue damage. The terms crocodile cracking,” alligatored asphalt” and “crocodiling” are all used interchangeably to describe the damage as the pattern formed is reminiscent of a reptile’s scaly skin.
Alligator Cracking – What Causes It?
There are several causes of alligatored asphalt. An improper initial installation, such as applying too thin a layer of asphalt or failing to compact the base sufficiently, can cause the failure. It can also result from a surface having to bear heavier weights than it was engineered to withstand, such as a parking lot intended to bear only personal cars being subjected to heavy traffic from fully loaded tractor-trailers.
However, the most common cause of crocodiling is the failure to have the surface repaired when less significant damages occur. Asphalt surfaces need a good base to hold up to traffic. When small cracks are left untreated, they permit moisture to reach the base and sub-base. The water can erode the foundation, and freezing temperatures exacerbate the problem. The surface can no longer withstand the weight of the traffic, so the extensive cracking pattern — alligatored asphalt — occurs.
In most cases, the only long-term solution for alligatored asphalt is to remove the damaged asphalt, rebuild the foundation and install new pavement. Short-term fixes are sometimes better than nothing, but they tend to forestall the inevitable for only a brief time. If the alligatored area is too large or the damage too severe, it may not be possible even to offer a short-term solution.
For more than 30 years, the professionals at Asphalt Pavement Solutions have been serving universities, sports complexes, shopping malls, airports and other commercial property owners throughout Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. We are a full-service asphalt pavement provider. Whether you need a new parking lot installed or your existing surface repaired, we have the experience and skills to do the job right. We offer striping, sealcoating, crack filling and pothole repair, and we can also install your car stops, bollards and traffic signs. For a free, quotation, you can send us your information using our online form, or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-800-559-SEAL, 1-856-544-3990 or 1-856-461-1710.