Crack sealing made simple for asphalt paving contractors everywhere!
In part one, we go through the preparation involved in a successful crack sealing job.
The type of sealant you select should be carefully considered. Price alone should not be the deciding factor.
You need to look at the temperature, the level of usage the asphalt gets and the individual sealant type before you select your sealant.
In colder climes, you will need a sealant that is more flexible than one that you would select for a warmer environment.
This is because in warmer terrain, the asphalt surface will not move as much and therefore the sealant can be less flexible.
However, use a sealant with lower flexibility somewhere cold and because the pavement will be subject to greater thermal movement, it will crack easily. This is completely counterproductive to the whole point of applying a sealant to start with.
Next, consider the type and volume of traffic that your pavement or lot is going to take.
For example, if you are sealcoating a sidewalk, exclusively for pedestrian access, then you are not going to need the same grade of sealant as you do for a road.
Likewise, the type of sealant used for an airport runway will be different again to that of a parking lot.
The amount of cracking on your pavement affects the type of sealant you should apply to it.
A pavement that is prone to high levels of cracking should have a more flexible sealant on it than one that doesn’t.
If the cracking is alligatored then this needs to be repaired properly because it means the subbase of the pavement has failed.
As an asphalt paving contractor, you might be used to being out in all weather and working with everything that the heavens can throw at you.
However, the pavement might have other ideas! When sealing a pavement, you especially need to be sensitive to the weather conditions that are going on around you.
If you can do, you want to select either the spring or the fall for your crack sealing job.
This is because during those seasons the cracks are likely to be in a sort of ‘mid’ position, somewhere between wide open and completely closed in.
But, having selected the season carefully, you also need a dry day to do this job. We know this can be made harder at certain months, especially in the early spring or later fall.
Also, it should not be too cold, as most sealant manufacturers will state the pavement surface should be at least 40 degrees or more.
Another thing to make sure of before you start sealing anything, is to ensure your team’s equipment is in tip top condition.
Give everything the once over before starting your job. Make sure everything is clean and ready to go. You don’t want to have to stop half way through a job because something wasn’t working.
Now it is time to prepare the cracks that you are about to seal.
This means cleaning it and drying it before you make your application of sealant.
By cleaning and drying it, it will stick better to the sealant.
You may also decide to use a saw, or router, to give the cracks a nice clean edge for the sealant to stick to.
Doing this can make the process of sealing more efficient.
We would recommend you seal the cracks as quickly as possible after cleaning and drying has been completed, to avoid the crack getting dirty or moist again.
If you are forced to seal cracks in less than ideal conditions, i.e. a humid or damp environment, then using a hot air lance may help.
However, it is important not to crack seal in wet, waterlogged or overly damp conditions. Even a hot air lance will not be enough to make it work.
Once you have cleaned and dried your cracks, you are ready to move onto sealing them. This is covered in our next blog.