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Crack Sealing

Crack Sealing is vitally important to pavement preservation. Cracks allow water to penetrate and soak into base layers. Water erodes the base layer and during freeze/thaw cycles causes asphalt to heave, leading to further damage. Crack Sealing is a preventative measure that will slow this process. 

When to Crack Seal

It is best to seal cracks as soon after seeing them form as possible. Even small cracks will allow water to infiltrate, leading to further pavement damage. Small cracks eventually grow to larger cracks, potholes or alligatoring.

Depending on the size of repair and budget, there are different types of sealants that can be used. 

Types of Crack Seal

Different types of crack sealing products are available depending on the size of repair required:

  • Cold Pour repairs should only be used for small jobs where price is a major factor. Because this material is a liquid it requires a longer cure time. Cold Pour fillers are capable of crack repairs up to 1/4" wide and 1/2" deep; anything larger should be repaired with a Hot Pour sealant. Cold Pour crack sealers become inflexible when they dry and therefore cannot expand/contract as well as hot pour products during freeze/thaw. It does not bond with the surrounding asphalt like hot pour so typically the repair does not as long. Cold Pour material comes in liquid form and is typically poured into the crack and smoothed with a squeegee.

  • Hot Pour sealants should be used for cracks that are 1/4" - 1" wide. These sealants dry to a spongy , flexible solid; a characteristic that allows them to expand or contract during freeze/thaw. Hot Pour will bond to the pavement allowing for a more permanent repair. Hot Pour material is heated from a solid with a kettle then applied with a wand or dispensing unit.

  • Mastic Repair: For cracks larger than 1" wide, potholes, and alligatored areas. More information can be found on our Mastic Page - Click Here.

Crack Sealing Steps

  1. Routing (optional): Routing opens a reservoir at the crack opening large enough to accommodate movement caused by thermal expansion and contraction. Without this reservoir, sealants cannot handle drastic movement and will separate or re-open sooner. A crack router is used to widen the crack opening to the desired width/depth. This step is required on most highway, municipal and large commercial crack repairs. Some jobs may not require this step.

  2. Cleaning: It is important to remove dirt/debris from the crack to allow sealant to make a quality bond with the pavement. Crack should be free of dirt and moisture. Compressed air and/or wire brush are recommended.

  3. Heat Preparation: Heat will remove moisture from the crack and expose fresh binder which the sealant can bond to. Be careful not to burn the pavement which depletes necessary oils that allow asphalt to stay flexible.

  4. Filling Crack: Using crack sealing unit or dispenser, fill the crack with sealant completely. Best practice is to apply an over band of sealant to ensure a seal around the crack, stopping any water infiltration. The over band creates a tight seal over the crack and also protects the crack edges on the surface from breaking up over time.  To be conservative we recommend a 3" total over band (1.5" on either side of the crack). Many crack filling units will automatically fill & create over band. A U-shaped or V-shaped Squeegee can also be used to smooth out the fill. 

  5. Tack Treatment: (optional) When sealants are fresh the can feel tacky to traffic until they have fully cured. Tack treatments are designed to reduce tracking and allow traffic onto sealed areas faster. Generally tack coats are a liquid applied with a sprayer. 

Crack Sealing Products

  • Cold Pour Sealant

  • Gator Patch

  • Hot Pour Sealant

  • Mastic Material

  • Melter (Hot Pour)

  • Melter / Applicator (Hot Pour)

  • Squeegee (U or V-Shaped)

  • Preparation Equipment

  • Tack Treatment with Sprayer

  • Tiger Torch or Hot Air Lance - Heating Crack

For More Information on Crack Sealing Products, Click Here

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