Asphalt is a highly durable paving material that can last several decades if you pour and maintain it properly. But, like any other material, it can deteriorate over time and leave you with unsightly—and sometimes dangerous—asphalt defects.

If your asphalt is looking worse for wear after a storm, extreme weather, or many years of use, you probably have one (or several) of these common asphalt defects. Learn how to identify and repair the cracks and holes in your pavement.

6 Cracked Pavement Issues To Look Out For

You might assume that all pavement cracks are the same, but there are several types to look out for. Learn the difference between these five common asphalt defects and how to fix them.

Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking, also known as crocodile cracking, is when your pavement cracks in a scaly pattern—similar to an alligator’s back. These cracks indicate load failure caused by heavy use, subgrade issues, poor drainage, or a weak pavement surface.

Depending on the extent of the alligator cracking, your paving contractor may have to dig up and repair a large portion of your asphalt. If you only notice a cracking pattern in certain areas, you can reduce traffic until a contractor can perform patch repairs of the subgrade and asphalt.

Longitudinal Cracking

Longitudinal cracking runs parallel to the centerline of your pavement. There are many possible causes of longitudinal cracks, including:

  • Reflective cracking caused by underlying cracks
  • Pavement fatigue, which can later lead to alligator cracking
  • Joint construction issues

You can repair minor longitudinal cracks with a sealant. If the cracking is widespread, it’s best to bring in a contractor to diagnose and repair the root issue.

Transverse Cracking

Transverse cracks run across the pavement’s surface, perpendicular to the centerline. Their causes include reflective cracks, temperature changes, and surface shrinkage. When they cross paths with longitudinal cracks, they form block cracking.

A contractor will likely take the same steps to repair transverse cracks as they would for longitudinal cracks.

Block Cracking

If you notice long, interconnected cracks that create large squares in your asphalt, you’re experiencing block cracking. Unlike alligator cracking, these don’t have anything to do with load. Instead, these cracks occur when your asphalt can’t expand and contract with temperature changes, so it weakens and cracks.

Similar to standalone longitudinal and transverse cracks, you can fix thin block cracks by sealing them, but extensive cracking often requires a new asphalt overlay.

Edge Surface Cracking

If you see a longitudinal crack close to the edge of your pavement, you have an edge crack. These cracks typically occur when there’s poor drainage or not enough support around the exterior of your asphalt pavement.

As soon as you notice edge cracks, you should remove any debris along the outer edges of your pavement and attempt to address the drainage problem. A contractor can help you decide if sealing the cracks will be enough or if you need a complete repair of the surface and subgrade layers.

Slippage Cracking

Have you noticed rippled, crescent-shaped asphalt defects in a high-traffic area of your road or lot? These are slippage cracks, and they form when the surface layer of asphalt doesn’t bond correctly. Frequent braking and wheel turning can push the surface layer out of place.

To fix slippage cracks, you typically need to remove and replace the affected area.

Are you worried that your cracked asphalt could turn away customers or even cause injuries? Don’t wait until it’s too late—bring in Airtight Construction for fast, high-quality repairs.

Explore Our Paving Services

3 Common Surface Paving Problems

Cracks aren’t the only pavement defects that occur after long-term use. Here are three common surface-level asphalt defects you might encounter.

Asphalt Rutting

If your once-flat asphalt suddenly has long, tire-shaped divots where cars typically pass through, you’re experiencing rutting. Rutting occurs when your asphalt mix is weak, or the subgrade isn’t strong enough to handle heavy loads.

Contractors may fix minor ruts by filling them and applying a new layer of asphalt on top. Significant rutting often requires the removal and replacement of affected areas.


Has your asphalt parking lot started to look more like gravel? Your paving contractor likely didn’t mix or compact the asphalt correctly during installation, causing it to erode over time. Long-term wear and tear can also lead to raveling.

You can fix small areas of raveling by removing the loose asphalt and applying a patch. If your whole parking lot is covered in uneven, gritty asphalt, you most likely need to remove the top layer of asphalt and apply a new one.


Potholes are impossible to miss, whether you’re tripping over them in a parking lot or swerving around them on the road. These holes in the asphalt surface can do serious damage to vehicles and people, and they’ll only get worse if cars continue to drive over them.

Untreated alligator cracks, changes in weather, moisture, and heavy use can all cause potholes. Luckily, you can repair minor potholes with an asphalt patch. Large potholes may require repaving.

Need a Bay Area Contractor To Fix Asphalt Defects?

If the parking lot or path outside your Bay Area business is covered with asphalt defects, don’t wait until they get worse to address them—bring in Airtight Construction.

Our team can diagnose the root cause of your asphalt issue and determine if you need repairs or repaving. Then, we provide the highest quality paving services in the shortest time possible, so we don’t interrupt your business. We can perform any asphalt repair, from sealing cracks to resurfacing. During the paving process, we can also update your lot to comply with ADA guidelines.

Whether you have a single longitudinal crack or raveling across your commercial parking lot, ATC is here to help. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation or request a bid for your asphalt defects.