Peeling paint, broken furnaces, blocked toilets . . . it seems like there is always something urgent demanding your attention. But did you know disaster could be lurking silently outside your building, potentially causing you thousands in preventable repairs?
Cracked asphalt isn't just an eyesore – it's a foundational risk. The two main enemies of asphalt are lack of maintenance and weather (and we'll include tree roots growing underneath as a third enemy here.) When cracked asphalt sits exposed, water seaps into it. As the ground freezes, the water expands, and the pressure from that expansion causes weakness in the asphalt. Left untreated, cracks turn into potholes, and before too long you're looking at replacing the entire asphalt surface because of damage that goes beyond the surface.
What can you do to prevent this from happening?
Perform a thorough inspection of your asphalt parking areas and walkways at least once a season – once a month if you live in areas like the North East that get extreme variations in weather. Look for cracks which are the first symptom of damage.
Asphalt maintenance repairs can happen at any temperature over 60°F. Any colder and the crack filler won't cure properly. Ensure a few days of dry weather have passed before you begin the parking lot repairs.
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The first step is to thoroughly clean the crack so that all loose particles of asphalt are removed from the crack. If plants are growing in the gaps, don't just seal over them: use a screwdriver or other tools to root out as much of the plant as you can.
If there are any oil stains on the edges of the crack, use a degreaser to remove them and therefore increase the adherence of the crackfiller.
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Once the crack is cleaned and prepared, it's time to fill them in. We recommend using a commercial-grade Solid Hot Pour Crack Filler This is a thicker material for filling cracks that have spread more than a quarter inch in width. It's extremely important that you use professional equipment to apply the product, since the hot pour crack filler needs to be heated to 400°F to achieve the proper consistency. Our AK10 10- Gallon Crack Fill Melter Applicator allows you to melt and apply hot pour crack filler at walking speed.
Hot pour crack fill can be applied at any temperature. Once you have chosen the material you wish to use to fill the crack in your asphalt and you have cleaned out the crack, you need to check and see how deep the crack is. If you catch the crack early enough it is likely to be a shallow crack. However, if the crack has been there for some time grooves in the base material under the asphalt could have occurred.
- Shallow crack: If you have shallow crack then you can go ahead and fill it as-is after making sure that it is cleaned out. To do this you simply pour the hot crack filler along the crack. Be sure to keep the filler inside the crack.
After you have filled the crack to the surface, go over it with a squeegee to even it out. You may have to use a trowel or a square nosed shovel to remove excess filler.
- Deep crack: If the crack is deeper than a half inch you need to fill it with coarse sand after cleaning it. Fill with the sand until the crack is a half inch from the surface of your asphalt parking lot. The sand is used to replace the foundation that was washed away by water. Once you have the crack filled, use a square-nosed shovel to remove excess filler. Allow the crack filler to cure for 24 to 48 hours and then go over the crack line with asphalt sealcoat. This will keep the crack from reappearing and help to blend the repair into the rest of the asphalt parking lot.
That's it! Crack repair is the first step to maintaining your asphalt driveway and saving thousands in unnecessary repair costs. If you address cracked asphalt promptly, the savings will add up quickly. To recap, the steps you need to follow are:
- Clean the crack completely
- Fill if necessary with sand
- Apply commercial-grade crack filler
- Let it cure
- Sealcoat it
For help selecting the right crack repair and asphalt maintenance products for your asphalt parking areas, visit www.asphaltkingdom.com where you'll find helpful guides, videos, and the products and equipment you need to get the job done right.