Cracks in asphalt are nothing to be concerned about if you act quickly to repair the damage. Asphalt can be repaired successfully so that the paving still has many years of life in it.

1. Clean the Paving

Always start with a clean surface when repairing cracks. Not only will dirt and debris impact how well the sealants bond with the asphalt, but they can also impact the color and appearance of the final patch. You can clean the driveway with a pressure washer, or you can opt to scrub it down with hot water and a deck brush. The goal is to remove surface dirt as well as any moss, algae, or vehicle fluid residue.

2. Route Out the Cracks

The longest-lasting patches occur when there is no collected debris remaining in the crack. Routing is the easiest and most effective method to ensure that soil, debris, and plant matter is removed before patching. The asphalt company will use a special tool to push through the crack, for both its complete length and depth, to force out any debris that has become impacted inside. This should be done for all cracks just prior to repair.

3. Use the Proper Fillers

Smaller cracks don't require filling prior to repair, but a filler can make a repair on a larger crack easier and more durable. Filler is typically made of flexible polyethylene formed into a foam-like tube. The right diameter filler is chosen for the crack and cut to length. It is then forced into the crack to fill some of the void before a patch is applied. One benefit of the filler is that is can absorb some of the stress when the asphalt expands or contracts in response to temperature, which reduces the chances of a new crack forming.

4. Choose Hot Patch Asphalt

There are two main options for patching a crack: cold or hot asphalt. Cold asphalt is available from any hardware store. You simply spread it over the crack, tamp it in well, and smooth the surface. The problem with cold patch asphalt is that it doesn't truly adhere to or integrate with the existing asphalt, so it will eventually wear away. Hot patch is applied by a professional. The existing asphalt surface is heated up and then hot asphalt is poured into the crack. The hot asphalt and hot patch are able to meld together to create a continuous surface that is resistant to future damage.

5. Sealcoat Promptly

Once the patches are applied and cured, sealcoating is the way to prevent future cracks and to smooth out the appearance of the repairs. Your contractor will apply a thin coating that consists of asphalt, binders, and protective sealers over the top of the paving. It helps even out the color while also protecting the paving against future damage.

Contact an asphalt contracting service like Northern Asphalt LLC for more help.