Asphalt Crack Repair Tips, Equipment & Products
Asphalt cracks are unsightly and can get expensive to repair if left for too long. That's why it's best to repair cracks as soon as they form. If you are looking to repair the asphalt at your home or business, Asphalt Kingdom has the equipment and advice you need to do the job right yourself!
The Benefits of Asphalt Crack Repair
Water is one of the worst things for asphalt cracks—once under the asphalt surface, it can erode the foundation or freeze (which causes heaving). Cracks can accumulate debris, dirt, and can start to grow weeds. Fixing cracks before they become potholes is the smartest thing to do—it also saves you money by extending the life of your asphalt.
When Should You Repair?
Do you have asphalt blacktop that is starting to crack? If you do, you're certainly not alone. Asphalt deterioration often becomes quickly evident after a period of icy or snowy weather when thawing can cause blacktop pavement to crack, crumble and decay. This is especially true for asphalt that isn't properly sealcoated.
The key to maintaining asphalt blacktop is filling cracks as soon as you see them. Putting off repair work will only lead to more damage and possibly even the need for costly asphalt replacement.
Why Do Cracks Form?
There are many different situations that require crack repair or crackfilling. In many situations, cracks can be caused by a poor foundation, by not having a thick enough layer of asphalt, or having a layer of asphalt that is too thick. Sometimes when the asphalt is originally installed the asphalt mix is not blended properly. Earth movement, extremely heavy vehicles, roots from trees, and the freeze-thaw cycle every year are also factors in creating asphalt cracks.
It is extremely important to repair any cracks that arise and maintain an ongoing asphalt crack repair maintenance program every year. If you do not repair the cracks, water will enter into the asphalt's foundation, which will begin to erode. This results in potholes and depressions, which will lead to extensive damage and costly repairs.
Weeds can also grow in cracks; their roots causing even more damage.
Preparing for Crack Filling Asphalt
This is the most time-consuming and most important part of the job, but it's also easy for any DIY'er. To get the longest-lasting repair, the crack seal needs a clean and solid area to stick to. Any debris or weeds that are left in the crack will degrade your crack repair job.
A pro would use specialized crack filling equipment like a heat lance, but you can get the work done with simple tools you likely have in your tool box.
Before starting your crack repair, check the weather to make sure there is no rain for several days and the temperature is over 60° F. This allows the crack fill to cure properly, which is a crucial step that will prolong the life of the asphalt and prevent the damage from spreading.
Remove Any Debris
If you have weeds or grass growing in your asphalt cracks, pull them out all the way down to the roots. If you can't pull the roots out, you can use a bit of vinegar to kill them.
Use a chisel or screwdriver to scrape out any loose rocks, debris, or leftover vegetation from the cracks. Then use a wire brush or hard-bristled broom to sweep out any dust; you can also use a gas blower to speed things up.
Make Sure Surface is Dry
The success of a crack repair job depends on having a dry, solid area. That means you can't just use a pressure washer, as the water will take too long to dry. If you do use a pressure washer, an air compressor or even a hair dryer could be useful to dry the area thoroughly.
Determine the Size of Your Cracks
While you're cleaning the cracks, make a note of how wide and deep the fissures are. Basically, you want to divide the pavement cracks into two groups: shallow cracks and larger ruptures. This is important because they are repaired in different ways. Don't stop looking at the obvious; keep an eye out for surface spidering damage on the pavement. That's a sign of a dry brittle surface, telling you it's time to apply a seal coat.
Shallow cracks are cracks that are about a half inch deep or less. With shallow asphalt cracks, you don't need to get a ruler out to measure the depth. If you check your asphalt frequently and you have just noticed some cracking, the depth is likely to be shallow.
Deep cracks are over a half inch deep. With deep cracks, you should fill it with sand until it reaches a half inch depth.
Begin Your Crack Repairs
Filling Cracks Under 1/2 Inch Wide
Crack filling asphalt cracks this small is easy. Cold pour crack filler is easy to apply and is perfect for homeowners.
You can use a caulking gun as your crack filling equipment (or simply pour a little bit at a time on your crack) and a U shaped squeegee. Simply apply and fill the entire crack, then squeegee and allow the crack seal to dry.
This type of crackfiller is NOT recommended for large cracks. Cold crackfiller has a tendency to sink into the wider cracks and sometimes pour right through to the foundation, preventing it from ever being filled. Though the crackfiller is still sealing the crack, aesthetically it looks as though it has sunk deep into the crack.
Filling Cracks Over 1/2 Inch Wide
This type of repair is more challenging, simply because it needs rubberized hot pour crack filler. If you're a homeowner, you'll need to hire a pro who has proper crack filling equipment to heat and apply, or you'll need to invest in the tools to do it yourself. Once the hot pour is melted, crack filling asphalt is easy. Apply, making sure to fill all the crevices and corners. Slightly overfill, and tamp down firmly with an oiled piece of plywood and your vehicle. Allow the crack seal to cure and dry.
Note: Hot pour is best for damage that is 2 inches wide or less; any larger and you have a pothole that needs an asphalt patch.