Crack Sealing Questions
Commonly Asked Questions about Crack Sealing
Why Crack Seal?
Cracks in asphalt are caused primarily by sun oxidation, which causes asphalt to shrink leading to cracks. Freeze and thaw cycles, as well as moisture and traffic, can also result in asphalt cracking. Moisture is then able to penetrate the pavement surface and soften it. Freeze, thaw cycles and traffic begin to deteriorate the pavement around the crack leading to the expensive and dreaded pot holes. Keeping cracks sealed on a routine Preventative Maintenance Program will save thousands of dollars and can double the life of your pavement.
How big should a crack be before it needs to be sealed?
- Cracks less than 1/8" in width may not need to be sealed if your pavement is being seal coated. Properly applied asphalt emulsion seal coat will usually seal small hairline cracks.
- We recommend that all cracks 1/8" and larger in moderate to severe winter climates be routed prior to crack sealing. A router with carbide cutters should be used to open the crack to a minimum of 1/2" wide by 1/2" to 3/4" deep. This will create a reservoir for the applied sealer, enabling it to stretch and flex with the opening and closing of cracks, which will occur with temperature variations.
- By routing the cracks, you remove the oxidized fractured pavement from the crack surface and expose intact vertical walls for the sealant to bond to. The increased area of sealant in the crack also accommodates for more movement. This will extend the sealants service life by 50% over non-routed cracks.
Can I crack seal in cold weather?
Yes, you can, if you follow a few simple suggestions. If the temperatures are below freezing the biggest challenge is moisture. It is very hard to see if it is frozen. Test the pavement with a torch or a heat lance. Warm the pavement, and then remove the heat source. Observe the area for moisture signs for a minute or two. If the pavement looks damp, the sealant will not stick. If you determine the pavement is dry, heat the sealant to the upper end of the safe heating temperature and seal. The use of a heat lance is always recommended in cold weather. Always follow the Manufactures recommended installation instructions.
What crack seal material should I use?
It is imperative that the right sealant be used. You need a product that is not too soft in the summer heat but remains flexible enough to withstand sub-zero temperatures in the winter. The product should be a hot rubberized sealant only. The sealant we use works excellent in our climate.