Used in driveways and parking lots, asphalt paving is durable and has a certain amount of flexibility which allows it to “give” under heavy loads. However, it will eventually crack due to age or structural problems caused by shifting temperatures, long-term water damage, growing tree roots, or by the weight of vehicles. Learn how to identify the different kinds of asphalt paving cracks, what causes them, and how a Nashville-based asphalt paving professional could repair them.

Alligator Cracks

A thin surface layer, base, or subgrade can cause asphalt paving to break apart when subjected to heavy loads. This is when alligator cracks can set in. One of the most common and preventable asphalt paving problems in Nashville, alligator cracks form interconnected geometric patterns that resemble alligator scales.

How to fix them: Ideally, asphalt paving should be removed as soon as possible and the underlying base should be strengthened. If the asphalt paving cannot be replaced immediately due to keeping the road open for vehicular traffic or other reasons, patching is the quickest and easiest solution. Sealcoating could also be applied to prevent alligator cracks from spreading.


Potholes are the bane of vehicles. These have caused countless flat tires, suspension damages, and wheel misalignments. Water brought about by changing weather conditions seeps through the asphalt paving, which weakens its foundation. Cars or trucks rolling over weak spots on the road cause the asphalt paving to break, which creates potholes.

How to fix them: If spring is still months away, cold mix asphalt can be used to patch potholes in snowy conditions. Cold mix asphalt is more flexible than hot mix asphalt because of its longer curing time.

Block Cracks

Block cracks are not a result of heavy loads., but they are caused by low temperatures which cause asphalt paving to shrink. This leaves behind large, rectangular cracks on the surface of the pavement. Block cracks are more common in areas where there is a low volume of traffic.

How to fix them: Hot-applied rubber crack filler is used to fill the cracks. The material fills the crack and a 3-inch band of filler covers the edges of the crack. This rubber material is flexible and allows the crack to move with the changing temperatures. Sealcoat is applied to hairline cracks to add a protective layer against the elements. This will prevent moisture and other substances from seeping to the subgrade. Severe block cracks have to be removed and replaced with an overlay.

Linear Cracks

These are cracks that run parallel to the center of the asphalt paving. Linear cracks are formed due to poor joint construction. Also known as panel cracks, these could split asphalt paving into several pieces.

How to fix them: Narrow linear cracks can be repaired with crack sealants. Larger ones require full-depth patching.

You can prevent asphalt paving cracks with proper installation and maintenance. If you need to consult with an asphalt paving professional in Nashville, contact Hargrove Sealcoating today by calling 931.619.6718. One of their service advisors will be happy to assist you.