Home Science How to Repair Asphalt Cracks and Damages

How to Repair Asphalt Cracks and Damages

When it comes to repairing asphalt, there are several different methods. These methods all depend on how badly the asphalt is damaged, and what the logistical constraints are for the repair project. It may also depend on the tools and equipment available to complete the project, as some repair methods require significantly more advanced techniques and equipment than may be available at any given time.

The preparation of the crack before sealing is super important. There are many ways to clean out the crack, including high pressure air, high pressure water, wire brushing, or sandblasting. After the hole has been properly cleaned, it is sealed.

Here is a detailed guide on how to repair asphalt cracks and damages:

When to repair asphalt

One of the best times to repair asphalt is when there is only a crack in it. It is the cheapest type of repair to do, and it will help to prevent more drastic damage from occurring.

Since asphalt can be so affected by the weather, it is important to try to fix cracks when the weather is mild. Extremely hot weather causes the asphalt to expand, and extremely cold weather causes it to contract. Filling cracks at either of these times of year is not ideal, as it will cause over-filling or under-filling.

In the spring and fall, when the temperatures are milder, the cracks will be at a middle ground in their maximum expansion or contraction. However, if you need to make emergency repairs during winter, there are coldmix asphalt repair solutions that can be used for these occasions.

How to repair small asphalt cracks

If the crack is too small, it may actually be widened slightly to ensure the sealant can get into the crack and will not leave any air bubbles. Air bubbles cause structural weakness, and should be avoided. Rubberized asphalt is a common material for sealing small cracks.

For hairline cracks, these cannot be sealed in the same way as small cracks can, as they are too tiny. The best way to manage them, especially if there are a lot of them, is to use a seal on the entire area that is being affected. The seal will flow into all of those tiny little cracks, and help prevent the surface from further damage.

How to repair large asphalt cracks

If the crack is larger than two inches deep, a backer rod should be installed. This helps to preserve filler. The methods used to clean out the crack are similar to smaller cracks, but instead of being sealed, the crack will ultimately be filled.

Crack repair fillers are made of different materials than sealants. Fillers include asphalt cements and asphalt emulsions.

How to repair potholes

If the cracks aren’t repaired in time, they will eventually develop into potholes. Potholes become more dangerous the bigger they become. They can cause damage to cars from bottoming out, they can damage car tires, and they can cause accidents from people trying to avoid them. There are several methods for pothole repair.

Method #1: Throw-and-go

The throw-and-go method is exactly what it sounds like – throw the asphalt on with a shovel and go away. Other than a quick pat down with a shovel, there really is no prep and no post work to be done to the hole with this method. In fact, this method relies on vehicle weight to compact the material down.

Method #2: Throw-and-roll

The throw-and-roll method is done by pouring a liquid asphalt into the pothole, and rolling it out with the wheels of the big work trucks or specialized equipment. No preparation is done to the pothole to prepare it for the repair.

Method #2: Semi-permanent

Preparation for semi-permanent pothole repair includes the removal of debris and water, and the squaring off of the edges of the pothole. Only the affected areas are removed, the rest of the area is left in tact. Then, it is filled with an asphalt mixture and compacted using specialized compaction equipment. This ensures that the patch will be flush with the pre-existing asphalt.

Method #3: Spray injection

This is a semi-permanent repair method that cuts down on the time required to do a repair. The pothole must be effectively cleaned and prepared, then it is filled at high pressures, which both injects and compacts the material at the same time.

Method #4: Deep patch

Deep patching requires at least a foot of asphalt to be removed around the affected area, and must go at least four inches deep. It is one of the more invasive methods of pothole repair, but is one of the most long-lasting as well. The affected area is cut out into straight blocks, rectangular in shape and then filled using an asphalt emulsion or another type of asphalt pavement.

Method #5: Full-depth patching

Very similar to deep patch repair, full-depth patching is the most invasive method for pothole repair, but it is also the absolute longest lasting solution. This is the removal of the entire layer of asphalt, no matter how deep it goes. During preparation, the space is cleared and cut into a rectangular shape, then filled, just as in deep patching.