Asphalt Crack Repair Basics
Asphalt pavement is surprisingly durable, but it is very common for it to develop cracks. Cracks can have a variety of causes, including exposure to ultraviolet radiation, overweight traffic, ground movement and seasonal temperature fluctuations. Regardless of what caused the cracks in your asphalt pavement, you should have them filled as soon as possible.
Asphalt Crack Repair Basics | Why Is Crack Filling Important?
Underneath your asphalt pavement lies its foundation. The foundation is what gives your pavement the strength to support traffic and the flexibility to remain resilient when under load or subjected to the freeze/thaw cycle. Cracks provide a way for water to reach the foundation and damage it. The foundation becomes eroded and unstable, which in turn causes the pavement to develop potholes, alligator cracking and low spots. Once the foundation has been damaged, the only option is to remove the pavement, repair the foundation and repave. Crack filling is much more economical and far less disruptive.
When Should Cracks Be Filled?
Ideally, cracks should be filled as soon as they are found. At the minimum, crack filling should be performed annually before the arrival of winter; cold temperatures can accelerate the growth of cracks, and the possibility also exists that the edge of a snowplow blade could catch on a crack and tear out a chunk of pavement. In addition, crack filling should always be performed before fresh sealcoating is applied.
Can All Types of Cracks Be Filled?
Crack filling works best on cracks that run in a straight line. Typically, filling is not possible for alligator cracks; alligatored asphalt normally indicates that the base is unstable, so removal and replacement is needed to make repairs to the base. Your contractor will need to evaluate the cracks in your pavement to determine whether filling is the best method of repair.
How Will the Contractor Fill Cracks?
Like most maintenance procedures, preparation is the key to a successful job. Your contractor will thoroughly clean each crack to remove gravel, dirt or grass. Routers, wire brushes and heat lances are some of the tools commonly used for preparing cracks. After the cleaning, compressed air may be used to ensure that the area is completely dry and to remove any dust that might have accumulated during the cleaning process.
Based on the crack’s width and depth as well as whether the crack is active or inactive, the contractor will choose a filler. Fillers are available in a variety of both hot-pour and cold-pour formulas, but different formulas are intended for different situations. For example, a small, inactive crack on lightly traveled pavement might require a cold-pour filler, while an active crack on a busy highway might need hot-pour filler.
The contractor will place the filler inside the prepared crack and finish the top. Some cracks are filled so that the top of the filler is the same height as the pavement, but others may be slightly below the surface of the pavement or slightly above it.
The length of time before traffic can be allowed on the filled crack depends on the severity of the crack and the type of filler used. However, the wait is typically quite brief. Your contractor will let you know when you can reopen the area.
Driveway Sealing Call Frank Handles Jobs of All Sizes
Driveway Sealing Call Frank is a commercial and driveway sealcoating contractor and no job is too large or too small. We have been providing quality services since 1998. Our services include crack filling, asphalt sealing, pavement markings, infrared pothole repair, asphalt paving and parking lot striping. We also repair and install concrete. If you need quality work at a reasonable price, contact us for a free estimate by completing the online form or calling 1-800-DRIVEWAY or (203) 378-0080.
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