How do I repair a big crack in my driveway?

grass growing in the cracks of a driveway

Damaged driveway problems

If anything can take away from a home’s curb appeal, other than a dirty roof, siding, or unkempt lawn, it would be a chipped and cracked asphalt driveway. A driveway with cracks here and there can give a driveway a little charm, but when the cracks get large enough that your two-year-old grandson can “dive in”, that is at the point of ridiculous. Fortunately, there are companies that do asphalt driveway crack repair and can make your driveway look complete and new again. 

With the ground here in Texas shifting every day, it is impossible to keep an asphalt driveway in solid condition, and that is just one of many driveway crack causes. The shifting ground in Texas can play havoc on plumbing that runs underground, bursting pipes and clogging the septic systems. Fortunately, there are companies that can make repairs with driveway crack and joint filler and get rid of those cracks and holes that are pulling from your home’s curb appeal.

What causes asphalt to crack?

Before asphalt driveway crack repairs can be properly made, a contractor would first need to determine what caused it distressed that resulted in cracking. Common types of distress include cracking, disintegration, distortion, skidding hazards, and surface treatment distress. Within each of those causes are causes, which we are going to briefly discuss here.

  • Cracking –  Asphalt can experience various types of cracks and how to repair each type of crack is based on the type of crack. internal
  • Fatigue – Fatigue cracking, aka alligator cracking, is deterioration caused by loads on a weak base course or subgrade, pavement too thin, overweight loads, or a combination of all.
  • Block – Block cracking is a series of large rectangular cracks, typically 1 foot or bigger, on asphalt pavement and will cover a large area. They can occur without any traffic loads and is caused by the asphalt shrinking due to temperature fluctuating.
  • Edge – Edge cracks run lengthwise within 1 to 2 feet of the exterior most edge. These cracks are caused when the edge isn’t supported.
  • Longitudinal – Longitudinal cracks are parallel of the centerline and caused by one of the following, none of which are related to loads: Poorly constructed joints; Shrunken asphalt layer; Cracks reflecting from underlying layer; Improper paver operation.
  • Transverse – Transverse cracks are not related to loads and can occur perpendicular to the pavement’s centerline and is caused by the asphalt shrinking or reflection of an existing crack. They are not load-related.
  • Reflection – Reflection cracks form over cracks or joints in a concrete pavement or in deteriorated asphalt overlay and is caused by the old pavement moving.
  • Slippage – Slippage cracks are crescent-shaped cracks formed because the asphalt mix was low-strength or didn’t bond with pavement layers which causes cracks when vehicles brake or turn.

  • Distortion – Distortions is caused by instability or weak asphalt mix, the base, and/or subgrade layers, all of which can result in depressions, patch failures, rutting, shoving, and swelling.
  • Rutting – Rutting is the result of surface depression in the wheel path and be caused by consolidation or deformation of pavement layers or subgrade as the result of insufficient pavement thickness, absence of compaction, and weak asphalt mixture.
  • Shoving- Shoving forms from pavement ripples and is a characteristic shape that is referred to as wash-boarding. This occurs where there is severe horizontal stress like at intersections and is caused by either excess asphalt, fine or rounded aggregate, soft asphalt, or weak granular base.
  • Depressions- Depressions are localized low spots caused by settlement or poor construction techniques.
  • Upheaval- Upheaval is a localized movement upward in pavement and is caused by the subgrade swelling, typically from the ground freezing and thawing.
  • Patch Failed – Patched pavement can become distressed when it deteriorates because of poor compaction, poor materials or the surrounding pavement is poor.
  • Disintegration
    Disintegration happens when the pavement breaks into small pieces then disperse with traffic over time, resulting in potholes and raveling.
  • Raveling- Raveling is when the aggregate particles wear away from the asphalt, showing the asphalt has hardened or they used a poor mixture and occurs with heavy traffic.
  • Potholes- Potholes are caused the disintegration of the pavement, typically caused by continued deterioration and distress as the result of poor mixtures of the base and weak spots.

Additional causes that may require asphalt driveway crack repairs are skidding hazards surface water causes that on the pavement, polished aggregates, or surplus of asphalt and/or other lubricants on the surface. Or surface treatment distress is the loss of aggregate.

How long does it take for asphalt to crack?

The question should be how long it takes asphalt to dry, and the answer is 1 year. It is 12 months before asphalt is fully cured and hardened. At that point, the cracking can begin if any of the points listed above are in place.

What causes Alligatoring in asphalt?

Alligatoring is the same as fatigue as we described earlier and is the deterioration caused by one or all the following:

  • Weak base course or subgrade
  • Pavement too thin
  • Overweight loads

What’s the best asphalt crack filler?

There are several brands of driveway crack filling products on the market and the contractor you choose to use for asphalt driveway crack repairs can explain the differences and why they recommend using any specific one. Among those on the market are:

  • EpoxyShield by Rust-Oleum
  • Flomix by Roklin Systems Inc.
  • Black Top Filler by Sakrete Of North America.
patch on an asphalt driveway

 How do you fix a large hole in the asphalt driveway?

To be certain you do properly your asphalt driveway crack repairs, choosing an experienced, qualified professional is recommended. This way, you have a guarantee and problem the repair didn’t stick, you will have recourse.  However, if you choose to do asphalt driveway crack repairs yourself, the following steps will give you guidance:

  • With a circular saw and an abrasive masonry blade, cut around the hole to create a clean edge.
  • Remove loose asphalt and soil with a shovel from the area.
  • Install a board around the edge to hold the new asphalt.
  • Pour crushed gravel or limestone in the hole as a base then tamp down.
  • Fill the hole with asphalt repair material and tamp down.
  • Cover with plywood and pack down by driving over it to compact

We value our asphalt driveways when the weather is nasty and wet, it makes getting to our home from the roadways easier and nicer. It is a worthwhile investment to make for a home and having it asphalt driveway crack repairs made is part of that ROI and upkeep. For your asphalt driveway crack repair in Austin, TX, dial 512-646-6069 for ATX Asphalt Paving.