Three Ways To Tell If Crack Sealing Is The Right Solution For Your Pavement Today

Construction & Contractors Blog

Crack sealing is a vital part of pavement maintenance, but that doesn't mean it's a universal heal-all. It works best on certain cracks and in certain situations and even certain times of year. Here are three signs that can help you determine if crack sealing is the best solution for your cracking problem today.

1. Size and type of cracks

It's best to get your cracks sealed right away before they become too large to seal. Sealing can work for a wide range of crack sizes but has the best results when cracks are between 1/4 inch and 1 inch. If you have a lot of cracks that are more than one inch in width, you may need to take more drastic measures. The type of cracking is important as well; sealing works best on simple cracks. Complex cracking situations such as alligator cracking often mean that there's a bigger problem beneath the surface and that the affected portion will need to be replaced altogether.

2. Age of cracks 

The longer you wait after cracks appear, the more likely they are to get too large for effective crack sealing. If you have your cracks sealed once per year, this is less likely to happen. In addition, leaving cracks unrepaired allows the elements to access the underside of your asphalt, damaging its structure as well as simply widening the crack.

3. Traffic flow and weather

Sealing cracks in asphalt involves using a sticky black material that will adhere to the pavement, but may also adhere to shoes if walked on before it dries. It's recommended to keep traffic (both foot and vehicle traffic) off of the affected area for a short while after the sealant is applied. Usually this can be done even if you have a fairly busy parking lot by cordoning off half of the area for sealing one day and then doing the same for the other half later once the sealant has dried on the first half. However, if you can't figure out a way to keep traffic off even part of your parking lot and you don't want customers tracking sealant into your store, you may want to put off sealing for a while. This is especially true in winter or in chilly, damp, or humid weather; sealant needs warmth to set quickly and rain can keep it from setting well at all. In warmer weather, it will set quickly and you won't need to keep traffic off the area for nearly as long, so it'll be easier to find a low-traffic time to schedule the work.

These three considerations will help you decide if your asphalt can use crack sealing rather than total reconstruction and, if so, whether or not now is a good time to do it.

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