Let’s be honest, pavement cracks happen and unfortunately they cannot be 100% avoided. However, with the proper preventative maintenance preparations in place, you can avoid expensive repairs and premature deterioration by simply fixing cracks and other minor problems as they occur.
Mother Nature is rather powerful. The extreme polarities of weather throughout the year, especially in our region, will take their toll on pavement. Water is the biggest direct factor in pavement deterioration. When water gets into the pavement subgrade, during winter months or other extremely cold periods, it freezes, expands and causes the pavement to crack. When left unrepaired, water also causes the subgrade base to become unstable and prematurely deteriorate beyond repair.
So now you may be wondering how water gets inside pavement in the first place? This occurs through overall deterioration due to salt/brines, heavy trucks, oil spots and sunlight are some of the major factors. While water will directly cause cracks, the other factors are what allow water to penetrate through the surface layer in the first place. The sunlight will dry out the tar in pavement, allowing small areas for water to seep intrude. This is why routine crackfilling and sealcoating of pavement keeps it in the best possible condition.
Now to answer some of the questions you are probably asking yourself about crackfilling the pavement at your property:
- When should I crackfill? This should take place throughout the life of your pavement and at least once per year to keep the pavement it it’s best shape. That means – don’t forget to budget those dollars!
- What time of year should I crackfill? In our region specifically, “Crackfilling Season” begins in April and ends in November. You can also crackfill in the winter as long as the pavement is dry, however, we recommend filling before the winter months when the cracks are at their widest.
- What types of cracks can be crackfilled? Typically, we recommend crackfilling straight-line cracks only. Alligatored cracking (web-like cracking) is a sign that water has penetrated the subgrade layer and the asphalt can no longer support the weight of traffic. This type of cracking should be cut out and replaced.
- Will sealcoating material stick to crackfill material? Yes, it will. The two materials will bond but since the crackfill material is designed to expand and contract through a wide temperature range, the sealcoat can chip away from the crackfill. There is a slight color difference between our two materials, so you will be able to tell if a crackfilled area needs to have another layer of sealcoat applied.
- Will sealcoat hide the crackfill material and make the pavement look new? No, sealcoating will not hide crackfill material. This is because crackfill is designed to expand and contract through temperature changes. The pavement will take on the dark color after being sealcoated, but the rubber-like crackfill material will still be evident.
- What is the best thing I can do to prevent cracks in my pavement? There are two parts to this question, but most importantly we would say that you should fix minor problem areas as soon as possible because they will eventually turn into bigger problems. Crackfilling annually and sealcoating on a preventative maintenance schedule is the best way to prevent more cracks from forming and add years to your pavement’s lifecycle. Secondly, be diligent! Inspect your pavement often and find areas that need the to be repaired and repair them.