Crack Repair: Learn How And Why Your Asphalt Needs It To Survive
Crack repair is the single most important part of asphalt maintenance. Sealcoating over the fissures is as ridiculous as trying to paint over a hole in your wall. Actually, it is worse, since your blacktop is outside and those damaged areas are exposed to rain, weeds, and tires! Here are the 6 key points you need to know.
Why Crack Filling Is So Important:
All types of pavement are laid down on a foundation, a gravel base that allows drainage, gives support to the heavy vehicles, and protects from frost heave. When there is a hole for water to get in (most often formed when crack repair isn’t done in a timely manner), it wears away at the gravel base. Now your foundation is compromised, and you have soft spots which turn into depressions.
Freeze and thaw cycles continue to widen the damage, and pretty soon you’re looking at repaving. Good asphalt maintenance practices will protect your foundation, and greatly extend the life of your asphalt.
What Exactly Is Crack Filling?
Just like paint won’t cover a hole in your wall, sealcoat will not fill damage in your pavement.
There are two ways to fix fissures, and you can choose between them based on the size of the area.
Cracks that are a half-inch wide or less is easily dealt with by anyone with cold pour crack filler.
When the damage is more than a half inch wide, hot pour rubber crack filler is the way to go for successful crack repair. This type of asphalt maintenance needs specialized equipment to keep the filler hot and to apply, and the average home owner may find this is better left to the professionals.
The great news is, if you stay on top of crack filling, you help prevent these larger fissures from happening! No pavement lasts forever, but with proper care you can triple the lifespan of your asphalt.
No matter what the size, prep work is the same.
First you remove all the loose pieces and any weeds or grass. If you’re unable to get to the roots of any plants, pour a little plain vinegar to kill the roots.
- Clean the area completely, using a degreaser on any fuel stains.
- Use a sand and gravel mix to pack the entire damage so it is only ½ an inch deep.
- Before crack filling, make sure the area is completely dry.
Asphalt maintenance is most successful when you take these simple prep steps to maintain the foundation.
Crack Filling With Cold Pour:
Simply fill the area with the cold pour product. Finish the crack repair by smoothing out the top with a squeegee and driving over it to tamp it down. Do make sure that temperatures forecast for your area for 24 hours are above 60°F for it to cure properly. Avoid spreading it around on the surface of the pavement – try to put it just where it is needed. This asphalt maintenance is simple, easy, and effective, for any do-it-yourself’er.
How To Use Hot Pour Filler:
As said before, this needs to be kept hot, and requires equipment to apply. If you have a large area of pavement though, the equipment quickly pays for itself, and this job is simple enough for anyone to do. Your best bet is to get an all-in-one melter applicator, since this keeps the hot pour at the right temperature for the whole process. With the right crack repair equipment, hot pour crack filling is easy-to-do, and quick!
Finally, When A Crack Is A Pothole:
For cracks wider than 2 inches, what you really have is a pothole! The best asphalt maintenance result comes from using a cold asphalt patch. This is as easy to apply as cold pour, and the prep work is the same.
With this repair job, you actually do overfill the damaged area slightly, and then tamp (press) down the excess patching product to compact it and make a lasting patch.
The secret trick the pros know? Take a flat board, oil the bottom, lay it over the repaired area, and then drive over it.
Crack Repair is That Easy!
There you are. The 6 things you should know about asphalt maintenance and crack filling. Not fixing these damaged areas will erode your foundation and shorten the life-span of your pavement.
Now you know the 3 different methods of filling, and when they should be used. Plus, you’ve learned how to prepare and apply each one for the best results. Congratulations - you have all the know-how to help your asphalt survive 3 times longer than it would without crack repair!
To Learn More: Read “Our Guide To Crack Repair”