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April 29, 2020
The best way to keep asphalt in good condition is to address problems as they arise. Don’t leave a small problem to sit, expand, and become a big problem. Once even the smallest crack appears, attack it and repair it. Even seasoned professionals can make mistakes and employ the wrong repairs relative to the problem. Knowing the proper techniques and when to use them will make your business stronger and more profitable. Here we’ll discuss the difference between crack filling and crack sealing so that you can speak in strong, confident language with potential customers.
Crack filling involves using cold-patch or hot-patch asphalt to fill larger, nonworking cracks and holes that sealing won’t fully address. Nonworking cracks are generally less than 0.10 inches wide. This type of crack, which can include block, longitudinal, or diagonal cracks, doesn’t move due to the close spacing between the edges. If the pavement isn’t showing too much movement, then filling is the recommended technique. Deeper and wider cracks also need filling because it’s a more permanent and durable solution.
The filling process uses materials that aren’t rubberized due to minimal flexibility expectations. The crack filling equipment needed is also minimal in comparison to sealing: a shovel, a tamper, pressurized air, and the patch mix are generally enough to fill holes and cracks.
When the cracks are smaller and more manageable, crack sealing is the solution. Even though the process is quicker and for smaller repairs, more equipment is needed for sealing. Crack sealing equipment such as tanks, melt pots, and torches is needed for the job, and depending on your level of skill, you may need more. Sealing involves cleaning out the crack and injecting hot sealant into or above the crack. The purpose is to seal the crack so that water doesn’t get into the crack and the subgrade. When cracks are in their infancy, sealant is used to prevent them from getting larger and becoming bigger problems. The cracks should be shallow and less than three-quarters of an inch wide. Anything larger than that, and the sealer won’t work adequately—filling should be used instead. Sealing is a more expensive process due to the tools and materials needed, but it’s a better value because it has a longer lifespan and protects longer than filling does.
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