As of today, very few commercially viable alternatives exist to asphalt which implies their popularity in pavement making. When you own a pavement or constantly use an asphalt pavement, it becomes irritating and somewhat worrisome to have those annoying cracks growing across. This often leaves most of us wondering why in the first place do asphalt pavements crack.

These occurrences are termed asphalt distresses and their reasons are often due to an existent deterioration. The general reasons for these distresses are discussed below:

Insufficient maintenance

Like all structural components, the execution of inadequate maintenance practices or repairs over a period of time often leads to further deterioration. Thus, when a tiny crack forms on asphalt pavement and remains unaddressed, it widens over time into a more pronounced crack that can pose a grave danger.

Wrong pavement base and thickness

Inadequate experience in estimating the right asphalt pavement base and required thickness can lead to the formation of cracks. Estimations of both the live and dead loads should influence both parameters (base and thickness) and lead to a more durable pavement. Also, improper installation can lead to faulty pavements that begin to crack in no time. Take, for example, installing an asphalt pavement as though it is intended to lift a single sedan per time when in essence it is constantly lifting trailers. That pavement would easily develop cracks. By calling a professional paving contractor they will make sure the pavement is the right thickness.

Climatic conditions

Generally speaking, pavements perform better in some climates than others. Constant rainfall and high temperatures would lead to immense and continuous expansivity on the pavement that would lead to cracking over time. Other conditions that could affect asphalt pavement is the frequency of ice storms within a region.

Edge cracking

This is another common cause of asphalt pavement cracking as it occurs when the edges of asphalt roads aren’t properly finished. Although it begins as a little chipping away at the edge of a pavement, if left unattended to, it speedily develops into a full crack web that can lead to further pavement deterioration.

Inadequate drainage

Since stagnant water can be detrimental to asphalt pavement health, it is important to have a system to constantly remove water from its surface. Drainages serve to achieve this purpose as they avoid the seeping of water into the asphalt matrix to weaken it.


This refers to the dislodgement of the surface layer of the asphalt pavement. This is usually due to the lack of adequate adhesion between the asphalt compounds and the aggregates present in the mixture. Over time and if left unattended to, these little surface layers are swept aside, to reveal the less hardened lower layers that crack under constant exposure to the design loads.


The above reasons highlight why pavement cracks occur but there are tons of other microprocessors that occur to ensure cracking occurs and evolves from microcracks into ditches. The main solution to asphalt pavement cracking prevention in a completed pavement is to ensure good maintenance practice and control the loads that ply the pavement.