Cracks On Asphalt Driveways: 2 FAQs

The emergence of cracks on a bitumen driveway is also referred to as mechanical damage. Cracking is among the most common problems that bitumen driveway owners will have to deal with at one point or the other. Discussed in this article are answers to two questions that a homeowner may have in relation to mechanical damage on a bitumen driveway.

Why Do Asphalt Driveways Crack?

Reasons for the emergence of cracks on bitumen driveways include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Poor sub-base construction: In the ideal situation, the sub-base of a bitumen driveway should be made of stone or a material with a similar structural strength. Driveways with a sub-base made of sand or a similar lightweight material will often crack due to their reduced structural strength.
  • The effect of traffic: Bitumen driveways will often crack after exposure to human and vehicular traffic for extended periods. There's no fool-proof way to prevent mechanical damage on a bitumen driveway as a result of exposure to traffic. However, there are things that can be done to delay the emergence of cracks on the driveway.
  • Invasive tree roots: The roots of trees growing around the driveway area are constantly looking for water and soil nutrients. The growth of these roots exerts uneven pressure on affected areas of the driveway as well as its foundation. Such areas often end up cracking if the action of these roots is not tamed.

How Can The Emergence Of Cracks Be Prevented?

Mechanical damage resulting from the action of invasive tree roots can be prevented by investing in tree species that have non-invasive root systems. This crack-prevention strategy can be especially effective for homeowners installing a new bitumen driveway. For existing driveways, undertaking removal of problematic trees may be of help.

Cracking as a result of traffic can be delayed by ensuring that weight exerted on the driveway is distributed evenly. For example, homeowners who park their vehicles along the driveway should rotate their parking position regularly so that the weight of the vehicle is not exerted on the same spots every time.

Emergence of cracks due to improper construction of the driveway sub-base is remedied by having the sub-base re-constructed and having it re-installed. As such, preventing mechanical damage in this context requires the homeowner to ensure that the bitumen paving contractor trusted with the initial sub-base construction (and installation) is adequately skilled and reputable.