Not all asphalt crack repair products are alike, which is why every homeowner would do well to research available products including their durability and ease of application as well as cost! It’s also vital to note when a property owner should avoid using asphalt crack repair products and should instead call a professional asphalt repair contractor near them.
The highest-rated asphalt crack repair products include Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield, Sakrete of North America Blacktop Filler, and Road Rescue Patch. These products are typically rated as durable, easy to apply, and compatible with virtually any asphalt paving mixture.
Before you purchase an asphalt crack repair product and attempt DIY pavement repairs, you might note some reasons why this work is often best left to the pros. It’s also good to consider common reasons for asphalt damage, so you can avoid otherwise unnecessary repairs in the first place!
If you do want to attempt DIY asphalt crack repair, it’s also helpful to review some simple but vital tips for ensuring this work is done properly and that your repairs last as long as possible. Remember to discuss these details with an asphalt crack repair contractor near you as needed, as he or she might offer more personalized suggestions for your property in particular.
The Best Asphalt Crack Repair Products
While name brand products come and go, and changes to their manufacturing process might increase or even decrease their reliability and durability, it’s good to know what to look for when it comes to the best asphalt crack repair products. First ensure you’re choosing a product meant for a certain type of damage; crack filler isn’t strong enough to fill potholes, for instance. Concrete filler won’t necessarily adhere to asphalt either, as concrete base is comprised of sand, gravel, and other aggregates, and not the same petroleum products as asphalt.
Water-activated asphalt crack repair products are often the best, as water softens asphalt materials, making it easy to fill cracks and chips. Adding water means an extra step than using asphalt crack repair products from a squeeze tube or bottle, but that step might be worth the prolonged life of your repairs!
Tips for Using Asphalt Crack Repair Products
One reason DIY pavement repair doesn’t tend to last is that homeowners might fail to use asphalt crack repair products properly. Reading and following instructions is always vital for any home repair involving over-the-counter products, but especially for pavement repairs, to ensure a driveway’s surface is strong and durable and resistant to harsh weather.
When using pothole repair products, ensure you also use a specialty tool that tamps or pushes the patching compound into the opening. Tamping asphalt repair products also compresses the materials, creating a durable compound less likely to separate over time. It’s also good to widen the chip or crack first, allowing added space for this tamping process and ensuring you’ve exposed solid asphalt to which your repair materials will adhere.
It’s also vital to perform asphalt repairs before winter weather arrives. Once snow and ice settle into cracks, chips, and potholes, they eventually melt so that blacktop then absorbs all that moisture, becoming prone to more cracks. As that moisture expands, it also presses against asphalt, weakening its base.
Common Reasons for Asphalt Damage
To better understand common reasons for asphalt damage, first note the nature of asphalt itself. Blacktop is made from a liquid petroleum base; this base is mixed with cement binders and aggregate and applied while still soft and pliable. Rollers press asphalt into place, also compacting those materials together; as it dries, asphalt hardens and becomes pavement.
- One foremost cause of asphalt damage is motor oil! The petroleum in motor oil and other similar fluids mix with asphalt’s petroleum base, softening the material and loosening its binders. Property owners might even notice potholes forming in the center of parking spots and residential driveways, right where cars tend to drip oil and other such fluids.
- Harsh chemicals might damage asphalt and lead to chips, cracks, and spalling. These chemicals often include fertilizers and lawn care products, snow clearing salt, chemicals used in manufacturing and production facilities, and commercial grade pesticides.
- Water exposure is a common cause of asphalt damage. Water softens cement binders, allowing asphalt materials to separate so that cracks and potholes then form. Damaging water can come from above or below asphalt; for example, a property not graded or sloped properly might mean moist soil underneath asphalt and eventual water damage.
- Freeze-thaw cycles are also a common reason for asphalt damage. As moisture inside asphalt binders and its petroleum base freeze, the material expands. As that moisture thaws, asphalt shrinks. This cycle weakens the material and adds pressure along its surface, often leading to cracks, chips, and spalling.
- Exposure to the elements ages asphalt and increases the risk of damage. Harsh sunlight dries asphalt, making the material brittle and more likely to chip and crack. Hail and ice also weaken asphalt surfaces. The colder the winters in your area, the more likely asphalt is to freeze, increasing the risk of damage caused by those freeze-thaw cycles!
- Along with cold winters, overly humid summers increase the risk of asphalt absorbing moisture from the air. This moisture then leads to water damage including chips, cracks, and potholes.
- Asphalt installation should provide sufficient strength and support for everyday vehicles; a residential driveway doesn’t need to be as thick and strong as a production facility with heavy, commercial trucks. Insufficient asphalt thickness and strength increases the risk of damage and especially in areas where heavy vehicles park most often.
- Scraping asphalt surfaces, such as with a snowplow, loosens its aggregate and damages its seal coating, increasing the risk of exposure to the elements.
- As with virtually all other paving and construction materials, asphalt simply breaks down over time! Binders tend to lose adhesion and moisture in asphalt bases dry out, leading to chips, cracks, potholes, and other damage. No matter the quality and thickness of asphalt, it will need crack repair eventually.
How to Avoid Asphalt Driveway Crack Repair
While asphalt breaks down eventually no matter its quality, there are many things a homeowner might do to keep asphalt in good repair and avoid the use of asphalt crack repair products! Note a few quick tips for keeping your pavement in good condition and avoiding otherwise unnecessary asphalt driveway crack repair.
- Regular power washing removes motor oil, corrosive chemicals, snow salt, and other damaging materials. Note that rinsing asphalt with a garden hose does offer some benefit but corrosive materials tend to seep into the pits and pores of asphalt, out of the reach of a hose! Pressure washing with specialty cleansers offers a better solution for keeping blacktop in good repair.
- Rinsing asphalt with a garden hose during summer months does cool its surface, decreasing the risk of heat-related spalling and other damage.
- Clear away snow and ice during winter months, to help avoid asphalt freezing and going through harsh freeze-thaw cycles.
- Avoid anything that scrapes asphalt surfaces, such as snowplows, bulldozer buckets, and other such heavy equipment.
- Heavy vehicles parked in one spot for prolonged periods put pressure on that area of asphalt, increasing the risk of potholes. If you have a trailer, motor home, ATV, riding lawnmower, or other such oversized equipment, move it to a different area of your pavement regularly. Even parking that vehicle just several inches away from its usual spot means increased protection for your pavement.
- Invest in quality asphalt installation rather than choosing the cheapest option on the market. Quality materials built and designed to last are less likely to crack and chip over time, and especially when exposed to the elements and heavy vehicle traffic. It’s also vital that you choose an asphalt thickness relative to your needs; an extra inch or two of asphalt will typically increase your installation costs but are especially vital for withstanding the added wear and tear of heavy trailers and motor homes!
- Asphalt seal coating provides a protective barrier between asphalt and harsh sunlight, chemicals, and other corrosive elements. Your asphalt installation contractor might note a recommended seal coating schedule for your property, but most homeowners might invest in this maintenance work every other year.
When to Avoid Using Asphalt Crack Repair Products
Never assume that asphalt crack repair products provide the same quality repairs as a paving contractor near you! It’s also vital for homeowners to remember that the money you might spend on repair after repair is often better spend on a chip seal or new layer of asphalt altogether, as these will provide a strong and durable surface for many years to come.
Most patching compounds are also insufficient for large scale repairs, such as surface spalling or potholes larger than the size of your hand. Patching compounds and other asphalt crack repair products are not designed to hold two pieces of asphalt together, so call a paving contractor near you for chips and broken areas of asphalt needing repairs.