To understand cracking, one must understand asphalt. A good analogy would be to think of asphalt as icing on a cake. The icing is only as good as the cake it sits on. Similarly with asphalt, it’s only as good as the base it sits on. Most cracks are formed from underneath the asphalt and reflect up through the asphalt. Understand there are more variables that go into the equation – such as water, oxidation and traffic. By nature, asphalt is designed to be a flexible pavement. This makes it more forgiving than concrete. When asphalt is new, it is able to handle slight movements in the base, such as settling, but as asphalt ages from exposure to water, the sun and other elements, it begins to lose its flexibility, becoming brittle. Instead of giving in unstable areas, it is more likely to crack.