Skip to main content
How to Fix Alligator Cracking in Asphalt Fort Lauderdale, Florida

How to Fix Alligator Cracking in Asphalt

How to Fix Alligator Cracking in Asphalt

alligator cracking on an asphalt road in a forested area.

Alligator cracking is a significant hazard that can compromise the safety and functionality of your parking lot. This type of cracking indicates a deteriorating problem under the surface that will only get worse with time. Alligator cracks are a trip hazard for anyone walking through the parking lot or attempting to cross the street. Eventually, alligator cracks will lead to potholes, which can cause severe damage to individuals and their vehicles. Fortunately, our team at U.S. Pave can provide you with the services and solutions you need to address alligator cracking appropriately.

What is Alligator Cracking?

Alligator cracking refers to a web of cracks in asphalt paving that resembles the rough, pebbled texture of an alligator’s skin. This type of damage, also known as fatigue cracking, is often an outward indicator of extensive damage under the surface of the road or parking lot. Alligator cracking isn’t just unsightly. It can also be dangerous.

If you leave alligator cracks untreated, they’ll continue to spread. Imagine a cracked egg or piece of glass. Continued pressure over the damaged area will worsen the issue over time. Wet climates like Florida’s expose alligator cracks to regular rainfall and humidity. When that moisture seeps into the open cracks, it speeds up the deterioration beneath.

Identifying Alligator Cracks

Alligator cracks have a distinctive pattern that runs in all directions. Low-severity fatigue cracks only affect the surface level. At this stage, a webbed pattern forms, but the cracks aren’t deep enough to collect water and debris. Treating the cracking while it’s still at this stage is best.

Moderate-severity alligator cracking is identifiable by larger cracks in the paving that are deep enough for water to seep into. At this stage, the cracking will worsen quickly. High-severity fatigue cracking is a significant hazard, with chunks of asphalt coming loose as the paving disintegrates. You must fix this level of cracking immediately to keep the street or parking area safe.

Causes of Alligator Cracking

The source of alligator cracking lies deep below the surface of the lot. Alligator cracks occur when there’s inadequate support beneath the pavement. A weak subgrade soil or poor drainage can lead to a severe lack of support beneath the asphalt. With nothing to hold it up, the asphalt will collapse into the uneven geometric pattern known as alligator cracking.

Alligator cracking may also occur because the asphalt is too weak to support the weight on it. If the asphalt layer is too thin, it won’t have the structural integrity to maintain its shape when subjected to the weight of entire vehicles. This type of damage may also occur in overloaded asphalt, such as a street or parking lot supporting heavy machinery for which it was never designed.

In some climates, alligator cracking is the result of fluctuating temperatures. If winter temperatures drop below freezing, the asphalt will expand and contract as moisture in the ground freezes and thaws. This eventually breaks the asphalt apart into alligator cracks. In Florida’s climate, freezing isn’t a problem, but severe heat is. If the asphalt heats up too quickly, it will expand rapidly, resulting in this spiderweb of unstable cracks.

Preventive Measures

Alligator cracking often results from improper asphalt installation. If you want to get a long life from your asphalt, begin with a sound drainage system beneath the lot, followed by a well-compacted subbase. If the pavement lacks the proper subbase, it won’t have the strength to support regular traffic above. Working with a skilled professional for any asphalt installation job ensures your pavement has the proper stability and thickness. A cheap installation job now may cost you dearly in the future if you rush the job and apply asphalt that’s too thin.

Make sure your parking lot has proper drainage under and around the lot. This is especially important in an area like Florida with high rainfall. Waterlogged ground can contribute to the instability that results in alligator cracks.

Routine inspections and proper maintenance will also help prevent alligator cracking. Regularly sealcoating your asphalt can inhibit cracking and moisture damage. When you do see cracks in the asphalt, repair them as soon as possible. Promptly addressing a small issue will prevent an expanding series of alligator cracks.

DIY Repair Techniques

The best DIY fix for alligator cracking is a good patch job over the damage. Thoroughly clean the area so it’s free of grass, weeds, gravel, and loose chunks of asphalt. Apply a tack coat to the area to ensure good adhesion between the existing asphalt and the patch material. Apply a fresh asphalt patch over the entirety of the alligator cracking.

A quality asphalt patch can provide a temporary solution to alligator patching. If poor drainage contributed to the cracking, improving drainage around the lot will extend the life of the patch. If the alligator cracking is the result of poor initial construction or a thin layer of asphalt, you may need overlay resurfacing over the entire lot to resolve the issue. In some cases, the best choice is simply to repave the lot. Though this is a major undertaking, it’s often the only lasting solution for severe alligator cracking.

Professional Repair Services

Alligator cracking is a serious issue for asphalt parking lots. Though you can occasionally apply a DIY patch to the area, the best solution is a professional repair. Our team at U.S. Pave has the equipment and expertise to help you resolve any issues with alligator cracking, no matter how severe.

Find Out How U.S. Pave Can Help You

At U.S. Pave, we’re committed to helping you find the best combination of affordability, functionality, and longevity for your location. Contact us for an estimate to start today.

Finland spring thaw pumping alligator cracking bedrock subgrade.JPG by Timo Saarenketo is licensed with CC BY 2.0 DEED

Posted on behalf of US PAVE

U.S. Pave is a full-service paving maintenance and installation company serving all of Florida with Parking Lot Maintenance, New Asphalt Construction, Asphalt Patching and Repair, Parking Lot Crack Repair, Pothole Repair, Parking Lot Resurfacing (Overlay), Parking Lot Sealcoating or Resealing, Concrete Maintenance, Concrete Flatwork, Concrete Car Stops, Flow line / Curb & Gutter, Trip-hazard Removal/Grinding, Parking Lot Striping, Signage, Bollards, ADA Compliance and Upgrades, Catch Basins, Sweeping and Porter Services.

Whether you’re in need of a small repair or a new construction project, U.S. Pave's dedicated team has you covered.

For more information on our services contact us today at (954) 210-7481.

Contact us today for a Free Estimate

Our Client Reviews

US. Pave

Based on 13 reviews

5.0 / 5.0

A Great Experience, From Start To The End Of The Job. Helped Me Thru Many Violations Prior To Hiring The Company. Kept In Touch With Me Thru All The Job. I Will Highly Recommend Nick For The Professionalism , Excellent Quality Of Job And Communication.

Ben S.

Great Company! The Work Gets Done. I Really Enjoy My Work Here. We’re The Company That Never Sleeps. Always Working To Make Customers Happy And Satisfied. We’re Paving The Way.

Replications A.

I Would Like To Thank U.S. Pave For Doing Such An Amazing Job On Our Properties Parking Lots. The Staff Was Professional And Always Available To Answer Any Concerns Or Questions We Had While Completing The Work. I Would Highly Recommend Them To Anyone Looking For A Paving Company.

Heather B.

Professional Quality Work Done In All Of Our Commercial Property’s. Best Paving Company We’ve Come Across In The Last 10 Yrs Knowledgeable And Efficient.

Q Spiritz

Great Company, Do That They Say. All Work Was Done On Time. Nick Was Always Available To Answer Any Questions.
Thank You.

Mallory C.

US Pave Has Taken Care Of All Our Warehouses Parking Lots For The Last 5 Years. I Highly Recommend Them To Everybody!

Contact us