What Causes Cracks in Asphalt?

What Causes Cracks in Asphalt?

If you have a driveway made from asphalt, you may find that cracks have begun to appear and are wondering what has caused them. There are many different causes of cracks in asphalt, with harsh weather conditions and poor-quality materials being among them. Below are a few of the different types of cracking and what may have caused them.

Why is Your Asphalt Cracking?

If you notice cracks along the edge of your asphalt driveway, it could be that the underlying material has shifted. This is often caused by the roots of plants or trees near to the edge of the driveway. It can also occur in newly laid driveways if the soil underneath is not providing enough support.

When asphalt is laid over a surface that already has cracks or joints, the new surface above can shift and then reflect the cracks below. If the cracks are severe, an extensive repair may be required, but if they are minor then sealant may be used to fix the issue.

A slippage crack commonly occurs when poor quality asphalt has been used. If materials such as dirt or water gets between the layers, the asphalt will not bond properly to the surface below.

Sometimes, cracking can occur in an asphalt driveway because of excess weight. Many people are unaware of how much weight their driveway can withstand and so will allow large delivery vans or trucks to parkthere without realizing the damage this can cause.

Poor weather can result in asphalt cracks. When water seeps into the asphalt from rain or snow and then freezes, it expands. This results in cracks. But it is not just the winter weather that can damage asphalt. Extreme heat can also negatively impact an asphalt driveway and cause cracks to appear. Furthermore, natural wear and tear of an asphalt driveway can mean that cracks become more common as it ages. So, is there anything that can be done to prevent these cracks?

How to Maintain Your Asphalt Driveway

According to the experts at Parking Lot Pros, asphalt seal coating is the best way to maintain your driveway. Seal coating will prevent water from seeping into the asphalt and will help to protect against cracks that are caused by winter freezing and thawing. It is important to note that seal coating is something that should be done every two to three years to maintain the protection and to prolong the life of the driveway.

If cracks have occurred around the edges of the drive way and you believe that nearby trees or plants are the culprit, it would make sense to have them removed to prevent further damage.

The professionals recommend regular monitoring of the driveway as this will allow you to spot cracks as soon as these appear. The earlier you spot the cracks and attend to them, the less costly the repair work will be.


Asphalt driveways are prone to cracks for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is extreme weather conditions such as frost and heat that lead to said cracks;at other times, the damage comes from poor installation. Also, nearby trees and plants that cause a shift in the soil underneath, or it could be too much weight from heavy vehicles.

The best way to prevent cracks from causing expensive repair work to asphalt driveways is to get it seal coated every two to three years. Seal coating prevents moisture from seeping into the asphalt and can prolong its life. You should also make sure that any small cracks and fissures are attended to as soon as possible to prevent them from getting bigger.