Just as death and taxes are inevitable events for human beings, cracks are an inevitable part of owning an asphalt parking lot. Cracks in the pavement will form as the years pass, whether by way of weather-related erosion or constant use by heavy vehicles. The only question is how to prevent them from spreading without completely removing and repaving the asphalt.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Crack Filling
Crack filling involves injecting a hot or cold asphalt-like material into a section of the crack that's neither expanding nor contracting (also known as a "nonworking" crack). This helps bind the crack together and prevent it from spreading any further. The material used for this purpose ranges from asphalt rubber to self-leveling silicone.
When compared to crack sealing, crack filling is an inexpensive way to make those needed repairs. It also requires less downtime than crack sealing, and crews can make short spot repairs with relative ease.
As a downside, crack filling material is less resilient in colder climates. The cracks begin to pull apart from the filling material as they expand and contract under colder temperatures, since the material itself doesn't contract or expand. As a result, the material loses its effectiveness and the crack has to be refilled.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Crack Sealing
On the other side of the asphalt pavement care spectrum is crack sealing, a process that offers longer-lasting results in comparison to crack filling. Unlike crack filling, crack sealing involves adding a fresh, uniform coat of asphalt rubber on top of the existing asphalt pavement. This largely eliminates the need for repaving while giving the parking lot a nice, uniform appearance that's like new, in most respects.
Crack sealants are also surprisingly durable. Not only do they prevent water from penetrating through to the cracks underneath, but they also help hold the underlying asphalt together for longer periods of time. Depending on the application method used, crack sealing treatments can last up to 8 years before another application is required.
However, it takes longer to properly complete a crack sealing job than it does to spot-seal a series of asphalt cracks. This means that larger sections of your parking lot are likely to be out of commission for longer periods as the sealed sections cure.
It's up to you to decide the best course of action for extending the life of your asphalt parking lot. However, you can use the above information to help guide and influence your decision. Get in touch with a parking lot contractor such as AAA Paving and Sealing to get started with your repairs.