Pavement Crack Sealing – Prepare, Protect, and Maintain!

 

The Life Cycle of an Asphalt Crack and Why you Need to Know

 

From the moment you had your parking lot, driveway, access route, or private road paved, natural and man-made forces immediately began to work against you; to attack the bonds and materials that make up asphalt aggregate. It’s just like geology – pressure and time. But while your paved surface won’t last forever, you can also use science and nature to your benefit! Let’s start with the life cycle of a typical crack, and then we’ll move into the method of Pavement Crack Sealing and how it works.


The Science of an Asphalt Crack

 Asphalt is an aggregated blend of rock, sand, petroleum compounds, and stone. The most important component being the binding materials that hold everything together – that maintain density – facilitating nature’s erosive elements to be held outside, beyond the layers and base of your paved surface. Water and moisture bead or run off the surface of a pristine sealed driveway.


Where it Starts

The binding agents in asphalt aggregate are eroded slowly over time by the sun’s ultra violet rays, moisture accumulation from rain, ice and snow, oil and fuel deposits from standing and flowing vehicle traffic, and oxidation. Representing only about six per cent of the asphalt cement by volume, over time the top layer adhesive material dissipates, resulting in initial light flaking, dryness and brittle surface. As the elements continue this process, eventually moisture penetrates, settles and in the winter time freezes and contracts. At this point, an asphalt crack is born. Debris, more moisture and a continuing cycle deepen and broaden the crack until it becomes more visible to the human eye. 

 

Make sure your contractor also looks for the underlying problem of the cracks, especially if they are recurring. While most cracks are caused by the elements previously mentioned, a broken or leaky catch basin may also be at fault as it allows water to seep and degrade your pavement.


Stopping an Asphalt Crack in its Tracks

There are two effective ways to deal with cracking pavement:

  1. Mill grind the entire asphalt layer and re-surface.
  2. Rout and seal the crack to protect from further moisture and exposure to the elements

Seal Pavement Cracks Early

If caught early enough, we can use the same scientific principles of expansion and contraction – that caused the problem — to stop further erosion within existing cracks. If the extent of cracking has not reached the base or created pavement fatigue failure, the following steps are taken to fix the problem:

  1. An hot asphalt slurry is prepared and mixed
  2. The crack is opened with a carbon-tip router
  3. The slurry material is used to fill the newly opened reservoir
  4. The material is smoothed, and sealed at the surface seems

Protecting the Repair and Preventative Maintenance

 For optimum results an asphalt surface coating should be applied to the entire area for extra protection against the elements of sun, rain, snow, wind, and automotive traffic. Recurring treatments, every three to four years, will maintain the integrity of your existing crack repairs, stop new ones, and help you extend the ROI of your paved surface, by extending its regular use life.

 

Here at Sure-Seal Pavement, we only use the rout and seal method- a crack sealing method that has been proven as most effective. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your property and see how we can help.


In pavement management, the key is to minimize operating cost with more frequent, lower cost maintenance; delaying major replacement costs and minimizing the disruption to your property and your visitors.

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