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Why is My Pavement Cracking?

Pavement cracking
Why is your pavement cracking? The source of erosion and cracking may not be what you think.

Why is my pavement cracking? This is the question that you’re apt to ask as you tumble to the ground after tripping on your lumpy garden path. Pathways do have their ups and downs, but they shouldn’t be so high and low that you trip over them.

It’s the Weather

When it’s chilly outside, chances are your pavement could be feeling the heat. A tiny bit of standing water makes its way into almost-invisible cracks in your pavement. Gradually, as it cools and turns to ice, this water expands. It pushes open the pavement cracks very gently, and over time, it causes that pavement to move apart and crack even further. This freeze-thaw weathering can be hard to see, but it’s a big presence in the erosion of your pavement.

Standing Water Can Cause Problems for Your Pavement

How can you avoid getting this standing water in the first place? While some damage to your pavement will naturally occur over time, you can pay attention to your soil and sources of standing water in order to reduce the likelihood of pavement damage. Work on the soil around your pathways to improve it and reduce its clay content. Clay-based soils or compacted soils let the water pool around your pathways. Sandier soil and soil that contains more organic material is likely to slowly let the water filter into the soil, rather than keeping it on the surface.

Pounding Water Can Cause Damage

Water that falls from landscaping or from your home can also damage pavement. Over time, it can cause erosion, and water can move into those tiny cracks in the pavement. Whether you have a plant pot that’s overflowing or gutters that are clogged, leading to a cascade of water over the side, keep on top of landscape maintenance to help your pavement maintain its integrity over time. Look at gutter covers to avoid clogged gutters in the future.

Pavement cracking
Willows and other water-loving plants can cause pavement to crack.

Plants Can Erode Your Pavement From the Inside

Plants make your garden beautiful, but they have needs, and one of those needs is water. Certain plants are water hogs, and they’ll send roots out to find water, wherever it might be. This includes plants such as Japanese Knotweed and willow. These roots push your pavement up from below, causing it to crack. Before you plant near your pavement, check to see how the root system of that plant usually behaves. Avoid planting trees and larger shrubs directly beside a asphalt or concrete pathway. Instead, plant them farther back so that you can enjoy the scenery as you walk, and plant smaller perennial or annual plants to line your path.

When you’re looking for home and landscaping solutions, turn to Harry Helmet. We’re here to help you find the answer: we can help with old roofs, clogged gutters, and more. Contact us today and connect with our professionals for a free estimate.

Written by Del Thebaud

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