If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t give much thought to your driveway until there’s a problem. And one of the most common problems with driveways is cracking. If left untreated, cracks can become potholes and create an unsafe surface. So what can be done to fix them? There are many products on the market for crack filling, but not all are created equal. Learn about the best asphalt driveway crack filler and how it works!
Why Do Asphalt Surfaces Crack?
You probably take great pride in your home and want it to look its best. One way to do this is by keeping your driveway in good condition. You can accomplish this by fixing asphalt cracking as soon as it appears.
It is essential to repair minor cracks in asphalt before they become more significant. Otherwise, water could enter the cracks and damage the asphalt’s foundation, weakening its structural integrity. Taking the time to fill in small cracks can help preserve the strength of the asphalt and prevent further damage.
If cracks are not promptly repaired when they appear, weather cycles with extreme temperatures can further damage the asphalt surface and lead to a more costly process for repairs in the future. Asphalt needs patching or repairs as soon as possible to ensure long-lasting surfaces and avoid expensive repairs.
Asphalt driveways crack for many reasons, including:
- Lack of solid foundation
- Poor installation
- Lack of a watertight seal
- Cold climates with winter weather
While you may be able to do some DIY asphalt repair with a caulking gun and a liquid polymer, these retail asphalt repair products will not hold up for deep cracks. Hairline cracks don’t need much to look better and prevent worse damage. But deeper cracks can often go deep below the surface.
Without a tight crack sealing, more water seepage can occur. Water causes significant damage to asphalt because it expands into ice during cold weather. Water is a problem for asphalt. Even the best asphalt crack filler will fail without a good seal.
Many asphalt driveway crack fillers are on the market, but not all of them will create a lasting solution. The problem is that different problems create cracks. They can develop into a worse situation if not properly understood. Knowing what is causing your cracking can help you know which are the best asphalt crack fillers for your asphalt cracks.
Types of Asphalt Driveway Cracks
Let’s look at the types of cracking asphalt you may experience with your driveway
FATIGUE CRACKING (ALLIGATOR CRACKS)
You may witness numerous fissures weaving together to form a pattern when severe damage occurs. This can be incredibly dangerous as pieces of asphalt may break off with traffic and wreak havoc on the structural integrity. Furthermore, water penetrating through these fractures can accelerate the decay of the area’s pavement surface. (1)
As the asphalt layer experiences contraction due to changing daily temperatures and prolonged cycles, the binder within it ages and weakens, leading to cracks. These cracks can be block-type (2)
Poor construction can lead to moisture infiltration through cracks, which can cause fatigue cracking and structural failure. Any longitudinal cracking in the wheel path that is winding or has irregular patterns of cracking is considered a sign of fatigue cracking. (3)
“When the asphalt contracts from cold weather, moisture can get into small cracks and eventually cause transverse cracking. (4)
Asphalt Driveway Crack Repair Process
Professional contractors fill in a cracked driveway in a few different ways, depending on the extent of the damage. The size and depth of the fissures determine the method.
Hot Mix Crack Fill
Professionals use hot mix asphalt (HMA) to seal cracks up to 2 inches wide and for large damaged areas. The material is heated up to approximately 375 degrees and applied using a wand. Once applied, a squeegee ensures that a proper seal forms and that bonding occurs.
HMA is by far the best crack filler material because it provides the best seal for your driveway repair.
Cold Mix Pour Fill
We sometimes use cold pour fill on minor cracks on smaller projects where the cracks and minor and the overall volume is lower. Cold mix products are available for you to buy retail and can work to help fill small cracks that are not deep.
However, if larger cracks are letting water into your driveway’s sub-base, you need to let a professional contractor work on filling asphalt cracks. With a hot mix asphalt repair, you can keep water damage to a minimum and extend the life of your driveway.
Filling cracks is an integral part of the pavement maintenance process, but it is not a permanent solution. Although it will improve your asphalt’s look, durability, and longevity, filling cracks is a continual process and needs to be completed every 3-5 years.
Working with your local asphalt contractor can ensure that any large cracks receive the attention they need.
Making Extensive Repairs
When you let smaller cracks develop into wider cracks, more damage accumulates until you have extensive cracking and potholes. Once potholes form from smaller cracks, you need an asphalt professional to properly fill and seal the area.
Repairing potholes and staying up with your regular asphalt maintenance is crucial to the continued health of your driveway.
- Crack filling: Potholes and cracking allow water or debris to penetrate the surface layer, causing further damage if not filled in and sealed properly.
- Asphalt overlay: Stripping the top layer off the pavement and replacing it with a new layer of asphalt can help extend the life of your driveway while giving a “like new” appearance
- Repaving: Once a parking lot begins to crumble, repaving and reconstructing it is typically the only course. Ideally, this is only necessary once every few decades. (5)
Many products on the market can fill driveway cracks, but not all are created equal. In fact, some of the methods and products you might try at home can worsen the problem.
If you want to prevent your driveway from cracking any further, it’s best to work with a professional asphalt contractor who knows what they’re doing and can use hot mix asphalt for the more problematic cracking issues.
AMP Paving: Professional Asphalt Paving Contractors
At AMP Paving, we install asphalt driveways, handle maintenance such as seal coats, fill and seal cracks, repair potholes, and more! Talk with us for all of your asphalt needs in the Columbia, SC area.
We take pride in our work, and it shows. Get in touch today to get started on your project!