Cracks on asphalt roads that look like scales on a reptile's back go by many names, including alligator cracks and crocodile cracks. This is a type of fatigue cracking that is not from one source of damage, but is caused by deterioration of the asphalt material over time. It is something that is worsened when the asphalt road is not sealed properly though older roads still get these cracks if the asphalt has not been repaired in a while. Here are some tips for fixing alligator cracks if you're not quite ready for more extension roadwork.
Block the Area to Prevent Further Cracking
If you notice the road has just the smallest alligator crack on it, now is the time to act. You might be able to avoid further cracking and extensive repairs by putting a stop to it. When you notice a small crack, start by blocking off the area. For example, if it is in a parking space in your front parking lot, put cones in that space and construction tape to prevent anyone from parking there. The weight from vehicles is going to worsen the crack. If it is right in the middle of the road, you won't be able to block it off, but the side of the road and in parking spaces should be fine until it is repaired.
The next thing you want to do when you notice a small crack is apply crack filler to it. This keeps the crack from getting worse or deepening from debris getting inside.
Get Your Supplies
For standard-size alligator cracks, you need a variety of supplies. If you regularly do asphalt repair work, you probably have these supplies already. If not, you should be able to get them from your local hardware store. To repair cracks you need:
- Asphalt filler material
- Hose or pressure washer
- Scrubbing brush
Fix the Cracks
With these supplies, you will be able to repair the alligator cracks. Prep the area first by cleaning it thoroughly. Block off the road so other cars don't disturb you. It is best to do the repairs during the early morning hours when it is cool outside and the sun won't affect the repair work. Make sure the forecast is clear with no expected rain. Once you have safely arrived at the site, clean out the cracks by removing any debris like branches and weeds that are growing inside them. If you are repairing a parking lot and it is near a business, see if you can access a hose or pressure washer. This will let you wash the area more thoroughly. You can also just use a bucket with water and soap, then clean the area with your scrub brush.
Once it is clean, prepare the patching material. Some asphalt filling materials need to be mixed with water while others come ready to use. Add just a small amount at a time to the cracks so you don't overfill the cracks. Use a squeegee to spread the patching material over the top of the crack. Pour a little more if you need additional material to fill the crack and cover the top of it. It should be flush with the asphalt road. Once you're done patching the cracks, let it dry for several hours.
For further help or information, contact local roadway repair professionals, such as those from Bituminous Roadways, Inc.