Posted on: 17 August 2022Share
Alligator cracks are a network of small, joined cracks on an asphalt surface that look like an alligator's scales. The presence of alligator cracks on a driveway is concerning since they're caused by the gravel base underneath the driveway shifting. The weight of a vehicle will press the asphalt down into the gaps left open by the fallen gravel, which will cause it to bend and crack apart.
The way to permanently fix them is to replace your entire asphalt driveway since that's the only method of repairing the gravel base and making it stable again. If you don't have the funds or the time to replace your driveway, however, then you can temporarily patch them in order to stop them from spreading and causing further damage to your driveway. Patching the alligator cracks will stop water from leaking through them into the soil subbase underneath the gravel layer, which will cause further shifting of the soil and gravel. To learn how you can temporarily repair the alligator cracks in your driveway and extend the amount of time your repair lasts, read on.
Use Cold Patch Asphalt to Fill the Cracks
You can find cold patch asphalt at most home improvement stores, and it's excellent for patching small cracks in an asphalt driveway. Cold patch asphalt is simply emulsified asphalt that doesn't have many solids in it, which allows it to seep into cracks. It will harden as it cures, filling the crack with asphalt.
In order to use cold patch asphalt to repair the cracks on your driveway, all you have to do is brush it into the cracks with a squeegee. Liquid cold patch asphalt is extremely sticky, so make sure you're wearing old clothing that you won't mind throwing out if it gets asphalt all over it. Once the cold patch asphalt cures, it will stop water from leaking through the cracks.
Prevent Water From Eroding the Driveway's Subbase
In addition to patching the cracks, it's also a good idea to stop the soil underneath your driveway from shifting more. Soil erosion caused by flowing rainwater can cause the soil to shift, so improving drainage around your driveway will help extend the longevity of your driveway and your crack repair.
To improve drainage, you should make sure your home's rain gutters drain directly into the street instead of onto your driveway. You should also fill in any valleys next to your driveway where water can collect during heavy rainfall. These are two quick ways you can reduce soil erosion.
Avoid Parking Vehicles on Top of the Filled Cracks
After you've patched the alligator cracks on your driveway, make sure you avoid parking on top of it. Cold patch asphalt will keep water out of the cracks, but it's not very strong. A vehicle driving on top of the patched area will still cause it to flex, and this can tear apart the patch. You should also keep heavy equipment like dumpster rental trucks off of your driveway since the added weight will place more pressure on the gravel base. If it's already in poor condition, the extra weight is more likely to make it shift.
Patching the alligator cracks in your driveway and preventing the gravel from shifting any more will help your repairs last longer. When you're ready for a permanent repair, call an asphalt paving service in your area and have your driveway inspected and replaced — in order to stop the alligator cracks from ever coming back, you'll need to have the gravel base and soil subbase reinforced and stabilized again.