top of page
Cracking asphalt in Vancouver British Columbia

Cracking Asphalt

Asphalt and concrete or paver stones are used for the vast majority of driveways in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Given enough time, almost every driveway cracks when the material starts to break down and separate. By understanding the reasons behind driveway cracks, you can take preventive and corrective measures to ensure your paved surface will look like new for as long as possible. 

At Curtis Paving, we offer asphalt services for residential, commercial, and municipal applications. Our contractors have almost 40 years of experience in asphalt paving solutions for driveways, roads, driveway curbs, paths, parking lots, and sport courts. To ensure your asphalt structure compacts properly, our team only paves during appropriate weather conditions.

Asphalt pavement is known for its durability and resilience. Despite the great longevity of properly laid asphalt, deterioration of asphalt pavement is natural. Over time the materials that make up asphalt begin to break down and become affected by elements such as rain, sunlight, and chemicals that come into contact with the pavement surface.

The premature deterioration of asphalt pavement is usually due to failures in construction – or human error - due to a number of factors including:

  • Insufficient or improperly compacted base below the asphalt; 
  • Over or under compaction of the asphalt during installation; 
  • Improper temperature of the asphalt when installed; and 
  • Poor drainage that allows water to seep under the surface of the asphalt and weaken the compacted base that supports the asphalt.

According to, there are several different types of cracks can develop in asphalt pavement including:

  • Fatigue: sometimes called alligator cracking as it resembles an alligator’s skin, is caused by load-related deterioration resulting from a weakened base course or subgrade, too little pavement thickness, overloading, or a combination of these factors.
  • Block: resemble a series of large, rectangular cracks on an asphalt surface caused by shrinkage of the asphalt pavement due to temperature cycles.
  • Edge: are longitudinal cracks which develop within one or two feet of the outer edge of a pavement because of a lack of support at the pavement edge.
  • Longitudinal: occur parallel to the centerline of the pavement, are not load-related, and are due to improper paver operation.
  • Transverses: occur roughly perpendicular to the centerline of the pavement and can be caused by shrinkage of the asphalt layer or reflection from an existing crack. 
  • Reflection: form over joints or cracks in an overlay of deteriorated asphalt because of movement of the old pavement.
  • Slippage: are crescent-shaped, formed because of low-strength asphalt mix or a poor bond between pavement layers, and due to the forces applied by turning or braking motion of vehicles.

Proper maintenance is key to protecting asphalt from the external factors that wear it out. This begins with a competent contractor like Curtis Paving who ensures that you have a well-compacted base gravel of a suitable depth before laying any asphalt.

Tree roots can also cause tremendous pressure on your driveway, look into installing a tree root barrier system or keeping root spreading plants away from the driveway. Finally, limit excess weight or direct and localized pressure from above – like trailer jacks.

Time and extreme weather conditions can take their toll on even the highest quality asphalt. With over 36 years’ experience in the paving industry, the dedicated professionals of Curtis Paving team can help you install and maintain high-quality asphalt projects just like yours. Call Curtis Paving at 604-922-2314 to schedule an appointment today across the Vancouver’s Lower Mainland.

bottom of page