A Quick Look into Why Filling Asphalt Pavement Cracks Is Important

Repairing pavement cracks

Asphalt is one of the most common materials used for building parking lots and roadways. Asphalt can be found everywhere from the driveway of your home to the shopping center and to the highways. Asphalt is usually seen breaking or cracking as time passes. This can be caused by age, traffic load or a faulty foundation. A cracked pavement on the driveway of your home in particular not only affects the overall look of the home but also decreases its market value.

The most common reason is the wear and tear experienced during and immediately after the winter. Soon after winter, the snow gathered on the ground begins melting. The liquefied snow penetrates into the cracks and damages the base. The pavement cracks widen and become even more visible and more importantly dangerous. It is important to fill these cracks immediately.

Types Asphalt Pavement Cracks

Most are not be able to differentiate between the different types of pavement cracks by just looking at them. Many cracks can be identified by looking at their shape and intensity. Below are the most common asphalt pavement cracks.


Potholes based on frost and winter 1. Alligator Cracking

Also known as fatigue cracking, it is one of the most frequently seen ways that an asphalt pavement breaks down over time. This type of pavement cracking is named after the reptile because the shape and pattern of the cracks resemble the scales of a alligator. The cracking is usually seen along driveways of homes and also on heavy traffic parking lots and roadways. It is known to be caused by a poor and insufficient base. Alligator cracking is one of the more severe problems and can deteriorate rapidly if not fixed quickly.


2. Linear Cracking

Linear cracking is also known as longitudinal cracking and can be found running parallel to the pavement. Linear cracking runs through the center of the asphalt road in a lay down track. The cracking can be caused by aging and unmaintained roads. It can also be a result of poorly connected joints. These joints are usually found at the least solid ends of the pavement and are therefore easy to break.



3. Block Cracking

Block cracks are big and interconnected square like cracks along the pavement. The cracking is not always a consequence of overloading but usually is related to the contraction of the asphalt roadway because of an incompetent construction process. This means that the parking lot or road was built without accurately keeping track of the temperature alterations that occur throughout the life of the pavement.

Filling Cracked Asphalt Pavements

Filling cracks in an asphalt pavement can be both a remedy and preventative measure. It helps in reducing deterioration of the asphalt in the immediate future by obstructing rain water and humidity from seeping into the foundation. If water manages to penetrate through these layers, it can cause the entire pavement to develop pot holes.

To ensure a smooth and high quality process, it is necessary to ensure that the cracks are properly prepared. The structural cracks should be cleaned of any debris and vegetation as well as dust, dirt and rocks. This cleaning can be performed by using a high powered commercial blower and brooms and weed killer.

Asphalt pavement cracks can be filled with cold or hot molten rubber-like filler material. However, since the type of filling depends on the size and severity of the cracks, they need to be checked and analyzed before going forward in the process. For smaller cracks, a colder substance is preferred over a hotter one. While for bigger cracks like block cracking, hot material is poured to fill the pavement breakages.

How to Pour Filling Material

Choosing the equipment to pour the material is also as important as selecting the material itself. Melters are usually used for filling cracks with hot and burning material as it’s made with a material that evens out the heat. The melters used in this process are called oil jacketed melters which are designed to transmit equal heat through the equipment thus not causing any part of the tool to consume excessive heat. The filling matter is generally used at 370 degrees Fahrenheit and is released through a pipe and rod into the cracks.

As for a cold filling material, tar pots are generally used for pouring it down into the cracks and filling them up with it. However, these pots should never be used for hot materials as they can easily burn and crack.

Why Asphalt Pavements Are Maintained

Fresh asphalt construction

Apart from keeping water from getting into the pavement and sustaining it for a longer time, below are a few other reasons why one should maintain pavements and proactively fill cracks.

  • • A cracked pavement or road can cause frequent tire bursts which can result in hazardous accidents.
  • • Crack filling can also be performed before any surface improvement to further extend the life of the pavement.
  • • A filled and well maintained crack enhances the look of your property.
  • • Regular maintenance also reduces the need for a complete replacement or removal of the pavement, which is expensive.
  • • Filling is better than sealing because the rubberized filler material is more flexible. This means that it can easily contract and expand during seasonal changes.
  • • Cracks in pavements having a higher pedestrian ratio can cause people to trip and suffer severe injuries.

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