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July 23, 2020
Keeping an asphalt driveway or parking lot in good condition can mean the difference between spending a few hundred dollars and several thousand. Asphalt is a very durable and reliable paving material, but it also needs care and yearly maintenance. Cracks in asphalt let water seep in all the way to the soil underneath. That seepage destabilizes the asphalt and turns to ice in cold conditions. The ice breaks up the asphalt even more, making it look like a bumpy spiderweb. Filling cracks in asphalt along with regular sealcoating is important to giving it a long life. Here we discuss how to repair cracks in asphalt to protect it.
Checking the weather is always the first thing to do when you’re working with asphalt. First, you want to make sure it’s not going to rain. Then, check the temperature. The temperature can’t dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and it shouldn’t be above 90; that’s the sweet spot.
Next, it’s time to clean the driveway. Use a leaf blower or broom to clear everything off. Be sure to blow out the larger cracks as well. If you’re going to sealcoat, then trim back any grass along the sides. Don’t use water unless you know you have enough time to let it dry completely.
The big cracks are easy enough to fill, but the smaller ones will need some prepping. Use a diamond pad on a grinder to make the smaller cracks larger; they’ll be easier to fill this way. Give all the cracks another look and ensure they’re clear of debris and dirt. Dirt and debris inside a crack or hole will prevent the cold patch and/or filler from adhering properly, making it less effective. Taking the extra time to clean will mean the repairs will last longer and protect the driveway better.
Asphalt crack repair isn’t hot and messy like you might think. For cracks 1/2” wide or smaller, use a bottle crack filler. It has self-leveling qualities, as it’s very fluid. There’s a nipple on the top of the bottle, and you can run a bead along the crack, just like using glue in grammar school. Don’t overfill the cracks, though; use just enough filler to top off the crack. For larger cracks and holes, use cold patch. Fill the crack and level it off with a trowel or tamper. Don’t seal the patch for four to six weeks after the fact. Knowing how to repair cracks in asphalt will save you plenty of money in the long run.
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