Everything You Need To Know About Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking is a type of damage commonly seen in asphalt surfaces. It is estimated that approximately 90% of all asphalt pavements experience some form of alligator cracking during their lifespan. Here’s an article that will provide an overview of what alligator cracking is, when it should be repaired, and the best methods for repair.

When Do Alligator Cracking Occurs?

Alligator cracking occurs when the surface layer of asphalt becomes weakened due to excessive load or prolonged periods of neglect. As this weakening progresses, cracks begin to appear on the surface in a pattern resembling that of an alligator’s hide. The cracks are typically wider at their base and narrow towards the top, resulting in a jagged appearance along the pavement’s surface. In addition to causing cosmetic damage, these cracks may create tripping hazards as well as allow water infiltration into underlying layers which may lead to further damage if left unaddressed.

A Common Type of Damage Seen in Asphalt

Alligator cracking is a common type of damage that can be seen in asphalt surfaces. It is often referred to as crocodile cracking due to the pattern it creates on the pavement surface, which resembles the skin of an alligator or crocodile. Alligator cracks are usually caused by fatigue in the asphalt layers due to excessive weight or traffic volume that exceeds the strength of the material. The cracks can vary in size, but will typically have a length of 4-12 inches and widths ranging from 1/2 inch to 2 inches. In some cases, these cracks may join together and form larger patches known as “alligatored areas”.

The seriousness of alligator cracking varies depending on several factors such as depth, location, and extent. If left untreated, alligator cracking can lead to further deterioration including rutting and potholes which can lead to structural failure if not addressed quickly. As such, it is important for property owners to inspect their asphalt regularly for any signs of this type of damage so they can take steps towards resolving it before significant damage occurs.

The Perfect time to Repair Alligator Cracking

At the optimal time, repairing alligator cracking can help to reduce further damage. Alligator cracks occur when a pavement surface has been weakened due to fatigue in the material used. Aging asphalt is particularly susceptible to this kind of cracking and should be addressed as soon as possible. Repairing alligator cracking should take place when temperatures are moderate, before any rain or snowfall that could worsen the damage or cause further erosion of the surface. This will also ensure the repair materials properly adhere to the existing asphalt layer and create a strong foundation for future repairs if needed.

The process of repairing alligator cracks involves first cleaning out any debris from inside the crack and removing any loose pieces of asphalt surrounding it. Filling in with an appropriate hot mix asphalt binder usually follows, then applying a seal coat on top for protection against water infiltration and oxidation from sunlight exposure. The best way to address alligator cracks is through regular maintenance routines, including filling in small areas before they expand into larger ones over time. Finding ways to preserve pavement surfaces can help prevent costly repairs down the line by extending its life expectancy considerably.

How to Fix Alligator Cracking in Asphalt?

Repairing alligator cracking in asphalt is a multi-step process that involves cleaning, filling, and protecting the affected area with a seal coat. For example, when temperatures are moderate and there is no imminent rain or snowfall expected, it is an ideal time to begin repairs as this prevents any further damage from occurring. The first step of repairing alligator cracking is to clean the affected area of debris such as dirt and gravel. This helps ensure that the filler used for repair adheres properly. Once the area has been cleaned, a crack filler or patch material can be applied to fill in any cracks that may have formed due to weathering or other conditions. Finally, a seal coat can be applied over the top of the repaired area to protect it from future damage and wear.

Can You Apply a Sealcoat After an Alligator Cracking Patch?

Applying a sealcoat after an alligator cracking patch is essential in order to protect the asphalt from further damage and deterioration. The application of the sealcoat will fill any small cracks or holes left by the patch, preventing water or debris from penetrating into the asphalt. It also provides a protective layer over the patched area, reducing UV exposure and keeping it from being exposed to harsh weather conditions that could cause additional damage. Furthermore, applying a sealcoat can help to restore the original look of the asphalt surface by giving it a uniform finish. Additionally, it helps maintain its coloration while providing traction for vehicles and pedestrians alike. Overall, applying a sealcoat after an alligator cracking patch is necessary for preserving and protecting your asphalt surface for many years to come.


Alligator cracking is a common type of damage seen in asphalt. It is important to repair alligator cracking quickly, as it can lead to further damage and instability if left unchecked. While there are several techniques available for the repair of alligator cracking, it is best to consult with an experienced professional before beginning any repairs.

Moreover, applying a sealcoat after a patch has been applied should be done with caution as this could cause more harm than good. Ultimately, proper maintenance and timely repairs will help extend the life of your asphalt pavement and keep it looking great for years to come.

Is the asphalt surface showing cracks? It’s time to invest your budget in a professional service like Keystone Asphalt Excavating & Maintenance. We can repair the cracks appearing on the asphalt surface and make it fresh and new. Contact our professionals at any time.

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