All About Alligator Cracking: Signs, Causes, and How to Prevent It

All About Alligator Cracking: Signs, Causes, and How to Prevent It

All About Alligator Cracking: Signs, Causes, and How to Prevent It


If you’re a property owner who has an asphalt pavement in your premises, you’re probably already aware of how important it is to maintain it regularly. Whether it’s a driveway, parking lot, or street, asphalt pavement is durable and cost-effective, and can last for several years when properly maintained. However, despite being a sturdy material, asphalt is not immune to wear and tear over time. One of the most common issues that property owners deal with is the appearance of alligator cracking.

Alligator cracking is a type of pavement distress that resembles the pattern of alligator scales. It’s a serious problem that can indicate underlying structural issues, such as inadequate subgrade support, heavy traffic, or improper installation or maintenance. If left unattended, alligator cracking can lead to more severe pavement damage, such as potholes or complete asphalt failure. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into alligator cracking and discuss its signs, causes, and how to prevent it.


Signs of Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking can be easy to spot with the naked eye. It usually appears in the form of interconnected cracks that resemble the pattern of alligator scales. The cracks are typically shallow and can be of varying sizes, ranging from a few inches to several feet long. Alligator cracking can occur in various areas of your asphalt pavement, such as the edges, corners, or center. If you notice these signs, it’s crucial to address them immediately before they worsen.

Causes of Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking often results from several factors, such as poor drainage, heavy traffic, inadequate subgrade support, or improper pavement design or construction. When water seeps into your asphalt pavement, it weakens the base layer, subgrade, and ultimately causes cracks to form. Heavy traffic can also lead to alligator cracking as it exerts excessive pressure on the pavement surface. Moreover, inadequate subgrade support means that the underlying soil cannot provide enough support to the pavement.

How to Prevent Alligator Cracking

Preventing alligator cracking requires proper maintenance and care of your asphalt pavement. Here are some tips to help you avoid alligator cracking:

  • Regular sealcoating
    Applying a layer of sealcoat to your asphalt pavement can help prevent water penetration and UV damage, protecting the pavement from deterioration.
  • Proper drainage
    Make sure that your pavement has adequate drainage systems, such as catch basins, to prevent water buildup.
  • Reduce Heavy Traffic
    When heavy traffic is unavoidable, use a thicker asphalt layer to ensure safety.
  • Regular inspections
    Regularly inspect your asphalt pavement for signs of cracks or distress, and solve the issues as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
  • Use high-quality materials
    Proper design and installation with quality materials can help prevent alligator cracking.


Alligator cracking is a common problem that property owners face in maintaining their asphalt pavement. Detecting the early signs of alligator cracking and addressing them immediately can save you time, money, and ensure your safety. The best way to prevent alligator cracking is to ensure proper pavement design, drainage, and regular maintenance. At M.Carroll Asphalt, we can provide you with excellent asphalt paving in Stockton, CA, and help protect your pavement from alligator cracking. Contact us today for a free quote and schedule a consultation.

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