Why Are Alligator Cracks Bad For A Commercial Parking Lot?

Why Are Alligator Cracks Bad For A Commercial Parking Lot?

Key Takeaways:

  1. Alligator cracking is an asphalt surface damage that looks like the scales of an alligator and manifests in four-sided blocks.
  2. It is caused by water erosion on a compromised foundation resulting from freezing temperatures or traffic load.
  3. Alligator cracks can reduce traffic safety and aesthetics and cause further damage to asphalt surfaces, creating liability risks and expensive repairs.
  4. Preventive measures are needed to prevent alligator cracking. If it has already occurred, then removal & replacement may be necessary.

Have you ever come across cracks on a long stretch of asphalt resembling the reptilian scales of an alligator? If so, you may have encountered “alligatored” or gravelly asphalt—the rightful namesake for its intimidating appearance. With puddles forming atop sunken patches and waves of gravel shifting beneath tires, you should not take this damage lightly.

As we enter the summer months, what might initially seem like a simple blacktop surface could be one chock full of problems threatening your parking lot. But how troublesome can alligatored asphalt be for your business?

Read on as Paved Assets explores underlying issues relating to said condition — including potential danger signs, warning indicators, and preventative solutions!

Alligator Cracks – An Overview

Also known as fatigue or crocodile cracking, the damage resembles an alligator’s scales on an asphalt surface. These cracks manifest in the form of four-sided blocks that are interconnected & irregularly shaped; sometimes, they have three sides but usually more than four.

Without repair, alligator cracking can rapidly lead to the requirement for costly repairs. It is often necessary to completely remove and repave the asphalt as cracks continually propagate, demolishing entire surfaces within a brief period.

How Do Alligator Cracks Take Place?

Minor asphalt cracks are a telltale sign of underlying issues that have yet to be unearthed. Asphalt is required to be installed with a stable, compacted base that can bear heavy vehicle loads. When this base becomes compromised due to lack of maintenance, excess loading, etc., the pavement develops fissures that let in surface runoff.

With time, freeze-thaw damage might take place, further propagating the cracks across commercial asphalt. Soon, you might have unsightly potholes with a penchant for disaster.

Cracks also lead to water seeping under the pavement foundation, resulting in stripping, depressions, or upheavals – depending on the season. If it’s winter, that frozen water in the cracks melts away again, and more erosion follows; with no further support from beneath them, asphalt surfaces begin to crack & sink under the pressure of passing vehicles.

When asphalt’s structural integrity is compromised, the leading perpetrator is usually water. To prevent further damage and decay, cracks or potholes must be attended to immediately; otherwise, rainwater runoff, melting snow, etc., can seep into the foundation beneath it. Don’t let your commercial pavement suffer—repair these small issues promptly!

Also Read: 7 Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Commercial Pavement Maintenance Company

Hazards Caused by Alligator Cracking

Well, now that we all know the origin story of alligator cracks, let’s look at the troubles and hazards they can cause.

1. Reduced Traffic Safety:

Alligatored asphalt makes it difficult for vehicles to navigate the pavement, making driving more difficult and dangerous. If you’re a commercial facility lot manager, a cracked parking lot pavement can put your customers – and your revenue – at risk!

2. Poor Aesthetics:

Ah, alligator cracks don’t look all that appealing – and you can easily spot them from a distance. Such severe cracking will significantly reduce the curb appeal of your asphalt, making them less attractive to customers or passersby.


3. Further Damage to Your Asphalt Surfaces:

Alligatoring is an indication of further underlying damage to your commercial asphalt surface. If alligator cracks are left untreated, the base layer can deteriorate quickly, causing more alligator cracking in different areas – possibly potholes or sinkholes!

4. Liability Risks:

If alligator cracks are left untreated, and someone trips over them, you could be liable for any injuries or damages. To avoid this potential risk and the accompanying costs, it’s important to repair alligator cracking in asphalt as soon as possible.

5. Expensive Repairs:

When alligator cracks develop, it’s important to repair them quickly before the damage spreads and becomes more costly. The cost of alligator cracking repairs depends on how extensive the damage is.

Nipping The Alligator Cracks in The Bud

The best way to protect against alligator cracking is through preventive measures. Establishing a consistent pavement maintenance program that promptly repairs small cracks and maintains seal coating can help prevent this condition from occurring. Unfortunately, suppose the asphalt has already cracked like an alligator’s hide. In that case, the only real solution is to remove it, repair any underlying damage and install new asphalt.

While temporary fixes can provide short-term relief, they cannot guarantee long-lasting success. Therefore, scheduling a “remove and replace” operation is wise to resolve your asphalt issues most efficiently.

An asphalt parking lot can last for over a decade but inevitably will develop cracks & potholes from a lack of maintenance. Finding an appropriate asphalt mixture that meets your demands and budget is essential. Additionally, you must determine if you will enlist a professional’s help nearby or attempt the repair job yourself.

If you have a comprehensive maintenance budget, scheduling repairs can be easy. You need to secure quotes from a reliable commercial paving contractor to know the labor, materials & miscellaneous costs involved.

Here’s How Paved Assets Can Help!

Paved Assets, based in Raleigh, serves all areas across North Carolina, provides asphalt maintenance services, including alligator crack repairs.

To ensure the longevity of your commercial asphalt, we use only environmentally safe seal coats of the highest quality. Firstly, to prepare for coating, we conduct a comprehensive clearing process, including sweeping and blowing off dirt, debris, or vegetation from your asphalt. We then fill in cracks and repair potholes before applying our seal coat.

Our company’s core is an understanding that consistent seal coating preserves asphalt pavement. Accordingly, we have a team of experts ready to ensure you stay within your budget and timeframe when creating a tailored seal coating schedule.

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