Asphalt maintenance is important for the longevity of your parking lot. By taking good care of your lot, you can put off having the lot resurfaced or replaced for as long as possible. Plus, your lot stays attractive for your customers. Crack sealing is one of the essential steps involved in maintaining your lot. Here's why asphalt crack sealing is necessary and how it's done.
Why Asphalt Cracks Need Prompt Repairs
Asphalt cracks are common, and you may see them within a few years of having a new parking lot installed. You'll deal with them constantly over the life of your parking lot, so setting up a schedule for repairs is a good way to deal with the problem. Prompt repairs keep the cracks from getting bigger.
The main problem with asphalt cracks is they allow water to seep in the asphalt and eventually into the soil base below. When the water freezes, it can cause further damage to the asphalt. When the water reaches the soil underneath, the base of your parking lot can be affected. This causes the cracks to expand and alligator cracking may even form. Large cracks and alligator cracks can be more costly to repair, so filling cracks when they're still small is the best practice.
How A Contractor Seals Asphalt Cracks
The approach the contractor uses depends on the size of the cracks. At some point, if your lot is neglected, sealing may not be possible and the damaged asphalt may have to be cut out and replaced. When cracks are still fairly small, they can be filled with cold or hot rubberized material.
Cold asphalt sealer is used on the smallest cracks. It is spread over the cracks and rolled over to spread it, force it in the cracks, and flatten the surface. When the sealer dries, it maintains its elastic nature so the sealer can expand and contract along with the asphalt as the weather changes.
When cracks are larger, the contractor may use hot rubberized filler instead. After the surface of the damaged area is cleaned, the hot filler is applied with a machine and then spread over the surface. The filler goes deep in the cracks and adheres to the asphalt to make a watertight seal that protects your lot and prevents escalation of damage.
These rubberized fillers are much darker than faded asphalt, so you may want the contractor to apply a sealcoat over the entire parking lot once repairs are done. This makes your entire lot a more attractive dark color. Plus, the sealcoat protects the lot from UV damage and should be applied every few years to help prevent crack formation.