Cracks left unsealed in asphalt pavement allow water to penetrate the surface. This, in turn, weakens the pavement structure and leads to failures in both the pavement and the base beneath it. Water is one of the worst things for asphalt cracks.Once water gets under the asphalt surface, it can erode the foundation. Left unfilled, the cracks will allow moisture to flow through the pavement and erode base materials resulting in potholes, and ultimately in premature failure. When this happens, only extensive and costly repairs can fix the problem. In our part of the country, cracks left over the winter can grow quickly due to snow plowing and our cycle of freezing and thawing day after day. Patching often doesn’t last and can cost several times what timely crack sealing costs. In the end, the useful life of the surface is shortened, forcing the premature and costly replacement of the surface.
Cracks can also 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. There are a number of things that can contribute to the cracking of asphalt pavement. The most common include: • Surface/Shrinkage Cracks are caused by lack of traffic, extreme temperature changes, excess water and/or ultraviolet degradation. • Structural/Reflective Cracks are caused by vertical or horizontal movements of pavement beneath, due to expansion and contraction with temperature and moisture changes. • Joint or seam cracks are caused by weak seam or improper pinch roll. 1) First the cracks must be cleaned. Using a steel brush, a screw driver or a crack cleaning machine, the asphalt company can remove all the dirt and vegetation. It’s very important to be sure to clean the crack at least a half inch deep.
2) For small cracks that are less than half an inch, there are products your asphalt company can use to fill the cracks. However, this type of solution should not be used for large cracks, as it can sink into the wider cracks and not properly fill the area.
3) For large cracks 1.5 – 2 inches wide, a relatively new material has become available that is more effective then regular sealer. It has shown to be very helpful and longer lasting.
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. Crack sealing is the most cost effective way to stop this erosion of your asphalt investment before it’s too late. When properly applied crack sealing materials will greatly extend the life of your asphalt pavement and prevent untimely damage.