Cracking Up: Part One: Knowing The Different Types Of Cracks

It’s like a warzone out there. And now, your once pristine showpiece parking lot is a mere shadow of its former self.

The shiny thick blacktop has become depleted and now is under siege with potholes, rutting and cracks, for as far as the eye can see.

Add to this some chipping of the lines and a blocked gully and you have a depressing situation on your hands.

If you are an estates manager, you will recognize this scenario. And in the war against cracking you can’t afford to sit about.

But did you know there is more than one type of crack?

This is when you a professional help you out!

Here’s how to identify the problems with your asphalt, when all around you is literally cracking up.


These are one of the more serious types of fault found in a pavement. Sadly, it is quite likely to occur in your parking lot, if you are not quick enough to spot them forming.

Alligator cracks happen in areas of heavy traffic and loading.

It points to a problem with the pavement base and therefore needs extensive treatment. This is one issue which can’t be solved by crack filling or sealing.

Alligator cracks present as a high density of cracking. These cracks are connected and have sharp edge pieces, which resemble an alligator skin.


Transverse cracks go from the center line of a pavement and are at right angles to it.

These may be your parking lot’s first sign of wear and are usually climate affected. These kinds of cracks aren’t normally due to heavy traffic, however.

They happen when the top asphalt layer can’t handle the stress it is under.


These happen where there is a joint with a concrete curb. They expand and become deeper, each time the freeze thaw cycle hits it.


Block cracks can be spotted because of their square patterning. These are usually between four and twelve feet in frequency and tend to spell the end of a pavement’s useful life.

They shouldn’t really occur to a newer asphalt paving, but might happen if the base course was never properly constructed.


Seam cracks happen where there are paving joints. The are caused by the wrong sort of hot mix paving being used or applied.

Believe it or not, there are more types of cracks than this! For an in depth assessment of your parking lot, call one of our experienced team.

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About the Author: Arnold Murray