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Asphalt Crack Sealing: How it Works

There’s no doubt about it – asphalt is an extremely durable material; one that usually lasts for many, many years if it’s properly maintained. And one important part of that maintenance includes sealing cracks in the pavement on a regular basis. Although a paved asphalt surface may look pristine, the fact is that all pavement actually has tiny cracks in the surface. Once water has the opportunity to penetrate the pavement, those cracks can expand into larger cracks, and that can eventually lead to other larger issues – such as potholes, damage to the sublayer, etc. Fortunately, a good paving contractor can resolve the crack issue before it turns into a more significant problem. One excellent way to do that is with crack sealing.

There are a variety of different methods that paving contractors use to seal asphalt cracks. Although the material can vary as well, it typically includes a combination of flexible asphalt, oils, polymers, plasticizers with rubber and mineral content – all of which adds up to a sealant that is waterproof and protects the pavement from damaging weather conditions. The most commonly used method of filling cracks involves what is called “hot pour sealant.” The material is initially heated in a melter to temperatures ranging from 380 to 400 degrees, then applied to the asphalt cracks using a pump and a hand-held applicator. Crack sealant is applied only in areas where it is needed, but it can make a huge difference in the condition of your pavement. Sealing small cracks in your asphalt surface can not only make it look as good as new – it also helps to prevent further damage and extend the lifespan of the pavement.

While it’s true that any asphalt surface may require crack sealing, it is most often needed on pavement that is heavily used. That includes roadways and parking lots in particular. These areas are exposed to heavy traffic on a regular basis. And parking lots are especially impacted by parked vehicles that can leak damaging motor oil and gas onto the surface. This, combined with constant exposure to direct sun, cold temperatures and pounding rainstorms, results in damage to the asphalt pavement. Crack sealing, in addition to regular cleaning of the surface and periodic sealcoating, is the best way to protect your asphalt investment. For more information about crack sealing and other asphalt repair and maintenance techniques, contact a reputable asphalt paving contractor today.