What Causes Cracks In Your Pavement

What Causes Cracks In Your Pavement, asphalt paving austinAsphalt pavement is affordable, attractive and durable, and these are some of the reasons that it is the most popular paving material in the United States. Over time, however, cracks can develop that can mar the appearance of the pavement and even shorten its life expectancy. Although it is not possible to prevent all cracks, understanding what causes them can help you determine the best way to reduce cracks in your asphalt pavement.

What Causes Cracks In Your Pavement – The Reason Why


Water starts to wear away pavement almost as soon as installation is complete. It will find its way into weak areas around the edges of the pavement or around storm drains and catch basins. It will find small surface cracks and work to expand them. Given time, water will penetrate to the foundation that supports the pavement, washing away the sand and gravel and allowing the pavement to sag and crack. Being proactive about asphalt repairs promptly and keeping drain covers clean can help reduce damage caused by water.


Many people know that the sun can fade the color of asphalt pavement, but not everyone realizes that the sun can cause cracks to develop. The sun will dry asphalt pavement and deteriorate it. The pavement loses its ability to remain flexible, and cracking can occur from normal traffic. Maintaining your asphalt sealing is the best way to prevent damage caused by the sun.

Ground Movement

Drought, soil erosion and extended periods of heavy rain can cause the ground beneath the pavement to shift. The cycle of freezing and thawing can also result in ground movement. If the soil has a high content of clay, ground movement can cause even more cracking than would typically occur in other soil types. Other than ensuring that the pavement is in good repair before it is stressed by ground movement, there is not much that can be done to prevent cracks caused by shifts in the ground.

Tree Roots

Some trees put out roots that can span hundreds of feet, and often these roots are not far underground. As the roots grow, they can exert pressure on the pavement or grow underneath it, causing cracks to develop. Care should be taken when choosing trees that will be planted in the vicinity of asphalt pavement.

Excessive and/or Stationary Weight

Asphalt pavement is engineered to support vehicles of a certain weight. If heavier vehicles are allowed to access the pavement, they can crack it. Cracking can also occur if vehicles or other items are left stationary for prolonged periods, especially during the heat of summer. The risk of cracking can be reduced by limiting traffic to just the vehicles for which the pavement was designed and by moving stationary objects such as trailers and pallets of heavy materials to new locations periodically.


As asphalt pavement ages, it will begin to show signs of wear and tear, primarily from the other causes mentioned above. However, as the pavement ages, its flexibility typically decreases, allowing gravity to exert pressure that can result in cracks. If the foundation is stable, it may be possible to salvage the pavement with an overlay rather than have the pavement rebuilt.

Installation and/or Site Issues

If cracking occurs soon after the pavement is constructed, the cause could be improper installation or problems with the site. Installation problems are typically the result of a poorly constructed foundation or improper compaction. Site issues include problems such as unstable soil or poor drainage. Always work with a reputable asphalt contractor when having new pavement installed.

Small cracks will turn into large cracks if they are not repaired. Let Alpha Paving help you protect your investment in asphalt pavement. We are a full-service, award-winning asphalt paving company serving customers throughout Austin and Central Texas. Alpha Paving Industries offers crack repairs, paving and overlays, sealcoating, parking lot striping and many more asphalt-related services. Our dedicated crews deliver superior work at affordable rates. If you have more question about What Causes Cracks In Your Pavement, or would like a free quote on your upcoming project, you can either complete the online form or call (512) 677-9001.

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