How Do You Fill Cracks in Asphalt? An Exterior Repair Expert Answers
Did you know that customers are more than two times as likely to recommend a business that looks great on the outside? Ignoring exterior repairs on Houston commercial properties—like not taking the time to fill cracks in asphalt—can damage your reputation and affect your bottom line.
Of course, a broken asphalt driveway or pathway isn’t just unsightly, depending on how cracked it is. It can also be dangerous.
Uneven, cracked asphalt can damage vehicles, cause people to stumble and fall, or lead to flooding, leaching of manufactured materials into surrounding gardens, and other environmental hazards.
Read on to learn how to mitigate these issues by hiring a Texas company specializing in asphalt repair.
Causes of Asphalt Cracks
Knowing why asphalt cracks appear on commercial properties can help you understand why calling in professionals is important.
Why Do Cracks Form?
Cracks in asphalt are expected, especially in an aged driveway, parking lot, or another surface. Everything from the local climate to how much use the asphalt gets causes cracks to appear.
The most common factors include:
- An inadequate foundation
- An initial application that was too thin
- An improperly blended asphalt mix
- Heavy use—such as trucks driving on the surface regularly
- Cold and hot climate extremes
- Natural disasters like floods or earthquakes
- Water or plant infiltration
Whatever has caused the damage should undoubtedly be addressed. However, the most critical action required is to treat the cracks as soon after they appear as possible.
Types of Asphalt Cracks
Believe it or not, the pros have names for the different types of asphalt cracks. Cracks typically fall into one of three categories:
- Shallow asphalt cracks
- Deep asphalt cracks
- Alligator asphalt cracks
Alligator cracks are so-called because they resemble the back of their namesake’s ferocious reptile. Shallow cracks are typically less than half-an-inch deep, while deep cracks are deeper than that.
Each of these types of cracks needs to be tackled differently, from simply using a filler to first filling with sand.
When to Repair
A professional asphalt repairer knows to wait until the weather is at its best to repair your asphalt. This will yield the best short-term and long-term results, ensuring your driveway or parking lot looks good for years to come and needs fewer repairs down the line.
Extremes in temperature—weather that’s too hot or too cold—can cause further damage to asphalt, and crack filler won’t adhere properly. And since Houston is prone to heatwaves and cold snaps, this is something to pay close attention to.
Ideally, you want to wait until the weather is mild and the forecast says it will stay that way for at least a few days. You also need it to be dry—in other words, you don’t want to see any rain on that long-range forecast. Water can damage the crack filler or wash it out of the cracks entirely.
Of course, we all want our damaged property fixed now. But in this case, it’s best to err on the side of caution and listen to the experts.
The Repair Process Explained
While learning why asphalt cracks are important, getting those cracks fixed is essential. When it comes to commercial projects, it’s imperative to hire a professional repair contractor rather than DIY it due to their size.
The first thing a contractor will do is inspect the entire asphalt surface. They’ll note the amount and types of cracks affecting the asphalt. They’ll also take note of any debris, grime, oil, or other impurities left by vehicles or environmental factors.
Impurities must be removed from the driveway, pathway, or parking lot before workers can use any asphalt crack fillers or sealers. This is because these products won’t adhere to a grimy surface.
The repair company may use tools like wire brushes or air compressors to remove loose particles from the cracks. They may also use a primer on oil spots, working it into the surface using a heavy-duty broom.
If any weeds or plants are growing in or right next to the repair surface, they will remove these, too.
Getting It Done!
While there are a few ways to fill asphalt cracks, most repair professionals follow a similar method.
After they’ve cleaned and prepared the surface, they’ll fill the cracks. This involves using a melter or heat lance to melt and apply a rubber compound to the cracks. Usually, this machine fills a gap quickly, but large or deep cracks might need to be filled multiple times.
Filling the crack properly is essential since asphalt expands and contracts when exposed to heat and cold. Any gaps that result from this process will let unwanted moisture in.
Once all the cracks are filled, the company will seal coat the entire surface using a commercial-grade sealer. This protects the asphalt from:
- Water infiltration
- UV radiation
- Oil and other contaminants
First, the workers mask off the edges of the asphalt area to ensure a clean edge. Then, they pump the sealer onto the surface, brushing it on and working it in with brooms. It dries black and can be walked on within 24 to 48 hours.
Need Someone to Fill Cracks in Asphalt for You?
Repairing cracks in asphalt quickly will ensure the cracks don’t get worse or spread to other areas of the driveway, pathway, parking lot, or patio.
If you need to fill cracks in asphalt across a large area, don’t attempt to DIY it. Calling in the pros is the best way to get the job done right the first time—and to ensure you get a long life out of your investment.
This, combined with the immediate boost to curb appeal, will save your company money in the long run.
GOLDSTONE Exterior Services is a professional, full-service exterior services company based in Houston, Texas. We’re proud of our customer-centric mentality and commitment to workplace safety.
View all of our Houston exterior repair and maintenance services for commercial properties.