How To Know If Commercial Asphalt Requires Sealant

How To Know If Commercial Asphalt Requires Sealant

Sealing asphalt cracks is considered common routine maintenance, especially in areas that get consistently heavy traffic, such as commercial parking lots or roadways. The purpose of sealing asphalt cracks is to prevent water and other materials from getting inside the asphalt and creating further damage. Sealants also reinforce adjacent pavements.

Overtime all asphalt cracks and discolors, it’s how and when you react to these changes that influence how much time you’ll get out of asphalt before it needs to be ripped up and completely replaced. Moderate and major cracks need to be repaired before sealant is placed on top. 

Commercial asphalt requires regular sealant applications in order to stand up to all of the wear and tear it is subjected to. Routine crack sealing will extend the life of your asphalt and reduce the chance a larger and more costly issue arises.

How Well Does Sealant Work On Asphalt Cracks?

Research conducted by the FHWA Pavement Technology Program found that sites with less traffic and crack movement performed much better when sealed as opposed to portions of asphalt with high levels of traffic and more crack movement. Generally, sealant is recommended for cracks that measure under 1/10th of an inch.

The type of sealant used will influence overall results. There are different sealing chemicals and overall combinations used to seal different types of asphalt. Water-based sealants tend to break down faster, while urethane-based sealants are flammable. Many water-resistant seal coatings are known to make surfaces incredibly slick, leading to falls and the potential for lawsuits.

The same FHWA study found the most important component of all was quality control in crack sealing and filling practices. The professional tasked with the responsibility must first identify the best type of sealant or other repair method for cracks. Secondly, they must prepare and apply the sealant just right for the best results. When you hire Kleenco Construction for the job you know it’s going to be done right and to the highest industry standards.

Cold Pour Vs. Hot Pour Sealant

Cracks must be carefully inspected prior to sealing because the correct sealant needs to be selected for the repair to take hold. Cold pour crack sealing without routing typically lasts 1-2 years and hot pour sealant generally lasts 3-5 years.

Cold pour sealants do not require heating and are generally used for cracks that measure less than 3/16 of an inch. In order for the best results to surface, sealants must be applied in the right temperatures. It should never be less than 40° F when cold pour sealants are applied. It’s recommended to hold off on this type of sealant if temperatures are near 50° and falling. The best temperatures for applying sealant are 65° F and over.

When applying cold pour it’s important to use more than enough in order to ensure the crack is completely filled. Cold pour mixes tend to flow deep down into cracks, meaning you often need more than originally assumed.

Hot pour sealants must heat to high temperatures before they are applied. Hot pour is warmed in a double-jacketed heater equipped with an agitator to properly circulate it. Even simple mistakes such as slightly overheating the material can end in disastrous results.  The process works because when the materials cool down the hot thermoplastics solidify. This form of sealant should not be applied to damp or wet ground surfaces.   

When Cracks Are Too Large/Invasive For Sealant Alone

Pouring sealant directly into the crack without the need for routing can be used to fill small cracks. On the other hand, larger cracks require routing prior to sealing. 

An in-depth study conducted out of the University of Texas at Austin confirmed the best candidates for sealant include non-working cracks, or rather cracks that have not moved (horizontally or vertically) more than 1/10th of an inch. The most common types of cracks that fall into this category include longitudinal, block, or diagonal cracks.

If cracks are larger than 1/10 of an inch they are known as ‘working cracks’ and generally require routing prior to sealing. Routing includes removing and replacing entire sections of asphalt so that it is in a neat rectangle with nice smooth edges. This allows the sealant to adhere with more strength to the asphalt pavement.

For leading commercial asphalt repairs and installations look no further than Kleenco Construction!