Chips and cracks on asphalt can do some real damage to vehicles. And if ignored, the problem can grow, resulting in a need for early repaving.
Why crack filling and sealing is important
There is a simple explanation. The measly effort, patience, and bucks you put into the maintenance today will save you from bigger headaches and future costs.
Research shows that crack sealing asphalt extends the pavement’s life by around one to nine years. The average increase in pavement service life is 5.6 years, depending on daily traffic and pretreatment pavement conditions.
Keeping these numbers in mind, the best course of action is to get asphalt chips and cracks on roads treated sooner rather than later.
Otherwise, water can seep inside the cracks and into the underlying pavement structure. Also, rocks or other materials may fall into the cracks and result in further deterioration. When the pavement expands or contracts due to temperature changes, the materials stuck inside can cause damage.
Who to call
If the issue is with a road in Washington, NJ, you need to contact a private owner or whoever owns the road.
What materials are used
Sealing cracks in asphalt can only be done with materials that have good bonding and adhesive qualities and elasticity.
These materials should be durable. They should be easy to apply but should withstand weathering, cracking, and aging.
Soft or easy set materials won’t be able to take the pressure of traffic.
Yet above all, the materials should work well with asphalt. It shouldn’t react or break due to the asphalt’s contraction or expansion.
Asphalt cement, fiberized asphalt, and asphalt emulsions can be used for crack filling. While rubberized asphalt, asphalt rubber, and self-leveling silicone can be used for crack sealing.
What needs to be done
While you don’t need to know the exact process and steps of how and what to do to fill or seal a crack or chip in your asphalt surface, you need to have some idea.
Many firms take advantage of a client’s lack of knowledge or have amateurs hired to do the job. Either way, you need some information. Here’s what needs to be done depending on the size of the cracks.
Cracks around 3 millimeters, i.e., 1/8 inches or smaller in width, can’t properly be sealed. However, if there are many tiny cracks on a large area, a surface seal like chip seal, fog seal, sand seal, or slurry seal can be applied. The seal needs to be liquefied enough to seep into the cracks.
All cracks that are 1/8 inch or slightly bigger (½ inch to ¾ inch wide) only need to be cleaned and sealed.
Cracks that are more than 2 inches deep require a backer rod to be installed in them to conserve the sealant.
However, larger cracks that are more than 3 or 4 inches wide need to be filled with a hot-poured sealant, a hot mix asphalt sand mix, or an asphalt emulsion slurry seal.
When asphalt cracks should be treated
The season has a significant impact on the quality of work and the performance of the sealant. So it’s safe to say you need to look at your calendar before getting crack filling and sealing done.
Cracks occur or expand and contract due to changes in temperature. The best time for repairing these cracks is during fall and spring because then the cracks are opened at their medium width.
Cracks are smaller in summer, so they will require less sealant. This means during winter, when the asphalt will contract; there won’t be enough material between the cracks.
On the other hand, if cracks are repaired during winter when they are open to their optimum width, many sealants will be used. But come summer, and most of it will be out on the surface.
For an even road, you need to check the time of year.