Understanding the Different Types of Asphalt Cracks

Understanding the Different Types of Asphalt Cracks

Understanding the Different Types of Asphalt Cracks


Asphalt pavements are commonly used in many properties, including commercial, residential and public facilities. And although they are a popular choice due to their durability and longevity, they are not invincible. Over time, they can face several issues, and cracks are one of the most common problems. While some cracks may seem superficial, they can actually be indicators of more significant problems that require immediate attention. In this blog, we will discuss the different types of asphalt cracks and how they can impact your property.


Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking, also known as fatigue cracking, is characterized by interconnected cracks forming a pattern that resembles large scales. It occurs when the pavement’s foundation is unable to support the weight that it carries. This results in the pavement’s asphalt layer bending and breaking, leading to alligator cracking. This type of cracking is prevalent on high-traffic areas and is a major safety concern, requiring immediate attention.

Shrinkage Cracking

Shrinkage cracking is a result of the asphalt mixture shrinking as it dries up. It can also occur when the asphalt base was not appropriately compacted. These types of cracks typically occur within the first year of the pavement’s installation and can expand up to a quarter-inch in width. Though they are generally not a significant problem, repeated exposure to moisture, including rain and frost, can result in more severe damage.

Edge Cracks

Edge cracking typically occurs at the pavement’s edge and is a sign of the pavement’s failure to support heavy traffic. It can also be caused by a weak subbase or soil that fluctuates due to seasonal weather changes. This type of cracking can quickly spread across your pavement, causing severe damage if not addressed quickly.

Linear Cracking

Linear cracking is among the most common types of asphalt cracks that occur on small sections of the pavement. They usually run parallel to your pavement’s centerline and can expand with time. They are mostly caused by sunlight and the changes in temperature during the daytime and night-time, especially in areas with extreme temperatures.


Potholes occur when there is a depression on the pavement’s surface, which then allows water to seep through to the asphalt layer below. The water then freezes, causing the asphalt to expand, forcing the pavement to break down. Potholes can be dangerous to vehicles and people and can cause significant damage to your pavement if left unattended.



Asphalt cracks require immediate attention, not only for aesthetic purposes but more so for safety reasons and the pavement’s longevity. If you have noticed any signs of cracks, potholes, or any other issues on your pavement, it is imperative to seek the services of a qualified professional. M. Carroll Blacktop Service provides unparalleled asphalt paving services in Modesto CA, with expert teams and quality materials. Don't wait for your pavement to deteriorate further; reach out to us today for a free quote and let us help you maintain a safer and more attractive property.

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