Why do Asphalt Driveways Fail – How Long Do They Last?

An asphalt driveway is considered to be highly durable, convenient to use, and highly clean.

It is also considered a long-term investment, giving the property owner many years of trouble-free paving in a residential or commercial setting.

Just like any type of paving material and surface, it needs to be managed and cared for carefully. Asphalt driveways call for proper maintenance along with quick repairs to ensure its serviceability for many years to come.

Considering the cost and the purpose of a well-paved asphalt driveway, we would wish that it will always retain its look and integrity forever. But unfortunately, this can not be so. Every surface or paving material will eventually break down or decay at some point. The steps we take to ensure its longevity and serviceability for a long period of time can ensure that we have many years of good paving.

Typical Lifespan of an Asphalt Paved Driveway

The asphalt paved driveways that have been installed professionally can last anywhere between eight to ten years on average. The general wear & tear would affect the overall finish of the asphalt with the passage of time. As such, the quality of the top surface and its appearance would deteriorate as time passes away.

The paved driveway with asphalt is bound to look wonderful and flawless the first year. The dark color and the uniform ground would offer an aesthetic appeal to the paved driveway. The aging of the driveway will not show until twelve months pass by after its installation. It is, therefore, important to perform a regular check on the asphalt paved driveway to check for any signs of aging and wear & tear.

As time passes, oxidation would degrade the top surface resulting in its damage. When you are able to take preventive steps in time, you can prevent substantial damage to the asphalt pavement. This would save up a lot of money and time as well.

Common Asphalt Pavement Failures to Know

Now that you have understood the average lifespan of the asphalt paved driveways, you can check out some common failures that can be experienced. Here are some:

Alligator Cracking: This failure is usually associated with the extra load on the pavement. The failure might occur due to the weakness of the surface of the pavement. Other reasons might include the weakness of the sub grade, the thinness of the base or surface, and poor drainage. The alligator cracking usually starts with the exterior path as forms of longitudinal cracking. It then ends up into alligator cracking due to excessive pressure.

The possible solution for fixing the alligator cracking is to undergo the full-depth patching due to some structural failure.

Block Cracking: The block cracks appear as large, roughly interconnected rectangular shapes. Block cracking might not be associated with excessive loads on the surface. It is generally caused due to the shrinking of the pavement. This happens as a result of the inability of the asphalt binder or surface to expand as well as to contract properly as with changing temperatures.

Block cracking could happen as the mixture was adulterated and was placed too dry on the pavement surface. The poor choice of the asphalt binder, a mixture of fine aggregate having low penetration or the aging asphalt could be the possible reasons for the occurrence of the block cracking.

The less severe block cracks can be properly sealed for preventing moisture from seeping the grade level. The denser severe block cracks can be fixed by the removal of the upper pavement layer and then replacing it with help of an overlay.

Longitudinal Cracking: This form of cracking is also referred to as linear cracking. These cracks appear parallel to asphalt pavements in the laydown or centerline direction. The cracks might occur due to the constant fatigue of the pavement, reflective cracking, poor joint construction, and much more.

The less severe linear cracks could be sealed. On the other hand, the greatly severe cracks would require the removal of the cracked top pavement layer, then replacing the same with the help of an overlay.

Transverse Cracking: These are single cracks that occur perpendicular to the centerline or the laydown direction of the pavement. These might occur due to reflective cracks from the underlying layer, poor construction, and daily temperature fluctuations.

The cracks that are less severe could be sealed for preventing moisture to go deep into the ground. The ones that are more severe can be fixed by the removal of the cracked pavement and then the replacement of the same with a layer of overlay.

Edge Cracks: These types of cracks usually traverse the edge of the pavement within one to two feet. The poor drainage system is one of the top reasons for the occurrence of the edge cracks. Dense vegetation along with heavy traffic on the pavement can also accelerate the formation of these cracks.

The first step towards fixing the edge cracks would be to remove the existing vegetation that remains close to the edge of the pavement. The drainage system should also be improved to combat any further damage of the pavement.

Joint Reflection Cracks: These cracks occur directly above the rigid joints of the pavement. These cracks do not include the reflection cracks. The joint reflection cracks usually occur in case of asphalt over concrete pavements.

In this case, the cracks of less severity can be sealed to prevent further damage. However, for the more severe cracks, the cracked pavement can be removed with the help of an overlay.

Pot Holes: The bowl-shaped diggings on the pavement might occur through the asphalt layer known as pot holes. These usually tend to have sharp edges with vertical sides on the hole’s top. The pot holes might occur due to infiltration of moisture regularly. These are usually the end result of the alligator cracking.

The pot holes can only be repaired with the process of full-depth replacement patching of the pavement. Tired of constant cracks and failures on your asphalt paved driveway? You can learn about some of the common failures that occur on the asphalt pavement of the driveways. This knowledge would help in analyzing the correct solution to the same. As a result of frequent repairs and proper maintenance, you can make your asphalt pavement of the driveway last for long.