Every Crack Tells a Story

We talk a lot about the importance of regular maintenance when it comes to your paved surfaces. After all, catching problems early on is one of the best ways to get maximum life out of your asphalt, saving you money and headaches in the long run. That’s why doing a yearly visual assessment of your property can pay great dividends. But before you head out the door and start wandering across the parking lot, let’s talk about a few things to keep in mind.

There are some common signs of distress that point to underlying issues with your asphalt, and nearly all manifest themselves in an easily identifiable disruption of the surface, whether it be cracking, dipping, or holes. The following are some of the most common culprits to keep an eye out for:

Generalized Cracking

As common as dandelions, and just as pesky, these may seem random, popping up here and there across the pavement surface. They can be caused by a variety of things, including the most common of stressors: sun and moisture.

Fatigue Cracking

Characterized by an alligator skin appearance (but not suitable for making purses), these cracks tend to indicate weight overload or a poor substrate.

Block Cracking

When asphalt is unable to adequately expand and contract due to temperature variations, interconnected cracks in a rectangular shape can occur over large areas of your pavement. Like Legos, but way less fun.

Edge Cracking

Texture along the edge of an afghan is stylish and pretty. Texture along the edge of your pavement is a sign of something gone horribly wrong. Typically occurring a foot or two from the lip of your asphalt surface, edge cracks generally point to poor drainage and a lack of underlying structure along the perimeter.


A condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal, typically caused by the notable dips in one’s paved surface area. Overloading and settling of the substrate can also be key factors.


Just as a raveling sweater leaves behind loose threads, a raveling pavement is characterized by loose debris. In the simplest of terms, this happens when the bonding agent in asphalt isn’t adequately holding the aggregate (different sized rocks) together. The result is a pavement that’s as crumbly as Grandma’s blueberry cobbler.


Water seepage and temperature changes are the #1 and #2 enemies of asphalt (are you starting to notice that pattern?). Add the two together and throw in a healthy dose of heavy traffic, and you end up with literal holes all over your paved surfaces. If you’ve ever driven a car, we’re 97% sure you’ve hit a pothole at least once. The bane of motorists everywhere.

Some of these signs of distress can be fixed with a simple sealcoat. Others may require a more involved approach, possibly even a full replacement. At Black Diamond, we are always happy to expertly assess your surface and come up with a plan that meets your budget and needs.

Every crack tells a story. What is your pavement telling you?

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