ASPHALT FROST HEAVE- DEFINITION, CAUSES, EFFECTS, AND FIXING THE PROBLEM
What Is It?
Frost heaving is a very common winter problem that is currently widespread throughout Westchester/Putnam Counties. It occurs when the freezing and thawing effects of frost result in the formation of ice pockets underneath the asphalt in the sub-base. As the ice pockets grow, they start to push the asphalt up, which causes heaving and cracking in the asphalt. Over time asphalt damaged by heaving will crack in a pattern that is referred to as “Alligator Cracking”, cracking that resembles the hide of an alligator, interconnected or interlaced. Driveways that suffer from heaving and aren’t properly maintained will continue to deteriorate with each upcoming winter. As these cracks proliferate, they will allow water to enter under the asphalt, thus ruining a smoothly paved driveway.
Other Related Issues
For many homeowners, water will enter underneath their driveways anywhere the asphalt meets another surface and forms a joint. A joint is a space between two layers of asphalt. Joints may appear small at first, but they can eventually become large enough to allow enough water to slip underneath and cause problems. Asphalt joints will commonly form in certain locations. The most common place to look for them is where the asphalt meets another surface, such as concrete. Garage floors are often the root cause for heaving in residential driveways since over time the asphalt settles and shifts slightly away from the concrete floor forming a gap. Driveways that meet concrete sidewalks are also prone to heaving for the same reason. Many homeowners have Belgian Blocks or stone pavers lining the outside of their driveways which can contribute to this problem. The curb is another place where joints typically form because water frequently flows towards the curb depending on the grade of the driveway. Persistent running water and ice over time will cause erosion and will open joints against the curb of the driveway.
Fixing the Problem
The severity of the cracking/upheaval caused by heaving will dictate how the problem should be fixed. Small spots with minimal cracks can be fixed by saw cutting around the cracked area and laying down an asphalt patch. However extensive cracking and/or upheaval throughout the entire driveway needs more extensive evaluation, to determine if there are underlying drainage issues or sub-base repairs that need to be addressed.
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