Filling Asphalt Cracks in Parking Lots and Driveways
Filling Asphalt Cracks in your asphalt driveway or parking lot surface will be a very important part of extending the life of your asphalt surface.
To know if you need any special equipment for your parking lot or driveway, we discuss the different kinds of asphalt crack filling methods and equipment at "Choosing the right Asphalt Crack Filling Equipment".
The two most important reasons you need to maintain and repair the cracks is because you don't want moisture to penetrate under the asphalt surface causing more damage to your driveway or parking lot. You can find out why you should sealcoat your asphalt surface as well, for added protection and preventative maintenance against the elements.
The second reason you should fill the cracks in your asphalt is because vegetation will begin growing in them. As the roots on vegetation get bigger, the plant root can actually push the pavement up and create even more damage. This breaks the pavement surface and other problems begin occurring.
Even worse, if water does penetrate the crack and seeps under the asphalt surface, this will almost always creates a soft spot which in turn can create a Pot Hole and if you live where the temperatures create ground freezing, then this moisture under the asphalt surface will freeze and push the pavement up. You might have seen this on other driveways or parking lots to know what we are talking about and now you know why it has happened.
All of these conditions can usually be avoided by practicing good maintenance and keeping these cracks filled as they occur.
Filling Asphalt Cracks is not a difficult job, and certainly no harder than performing yard or garden work.
There are different kinds of cracks that you need to identify, some you can fill yourself and others may require a professional.
A simple crack is easily repairable. These cracks occur naturally as the ground moves and the asphalt ages. These types of cracks are usually straight or zig zagging across the parkinglot or driveway surface and now is the time to use asphalt crack filler to repair them.
Please use these instructions for filling large cracks or Pot Holes
On the other hand, if you have areas in your pavement that looks like Alligator Skin, this is is characterized by any smaller cracks that look like chicken wire, you likely will need professional help, or be willing to do some extra work at least.
Now that you understand the different kinds of cracks it's time to get to work and begin filling asphalt cracks in your driveway or parking lot pavement.
If you're considering Sealcoating your asphalt as well, filling asphalt cracks first is always a better option. Sealcoating is not designed to be an asphalt crack filler, it is made for sealing the surface and protecting it from the elements such as UV light, salts and oils. It is not flexible enough to fill a crack without re-cracking and it does not have adhesion quality's that Asphalt Crack Filler has.
You can read about Sealcoating Asphalt in our on-line guide.
Please keep in mind that these crack filling instructions are a very simplified version of how a professional would repair them. Professional contractors use specialized equipment to clean and prepare cracks quickly and then apply crack filler using specially designed asphalt crack filler application equipment. If you are doing a driveway or small parking lot, you can probably get away with a minimal amount of equipment and material.
Clean the crack by using something that is sturdy like a large screwdriver or pick, which allows you to dig down and completely remove all of the debris. This is probably the most important part of the process! If you don't get them clean, then the asphalt crack filler wont stay in place and you have wasted your time and money.
If you will be maintaining your own asphalt driveway or parking lot on a regular basis, you may want to consider making a small investment in proper Asphalt repair tools to help you clean and refill the crack. Professional asphalt contractors will sometimes use aAsphalt Crack Heat Lance which burns up any vegetation, blows dirt and debris out of the crack and evaporates moisture.
After cleaning and digging the debris from the crack, you will need to remove all of the loose debris and this is best accomplished with an air compressor. I'm not saying you have to have an air compressor, it just make the task quicker, easier and more effective without spending a lot of money on equipment you won't use on a regular basis.
If you do not have access to a compressor then use what you have to sweep and blow the crack out as good as possible.
Even though we probably have information on this web site discussing the use of a pressure washer for cleaning asphalt cracks, and I will admit to advising using one, I won't advise it unless absolutely necessary. Using a pressure washer can "push" water deep under the surface and if it doesn't evaporate before filling the cracks, that water can potentially soften the area under the pavement creating a future pot hole or alligator area. We recommend that you ONLY powerwash if you are going to have several days of hot dry weather between the powerwashing and crack filling to provide ample time for the moisture to evaporate.
Once you have properly prepared the crack for new asphalt crack filler, the next step is filling asphalt cracks using rubberized crack filler.
This is the easier part of the job but the application process is just as important.
If you are a homeowner or maintain property and don't have access to a melting kettle, you will need to fill the asphalt crack using a cold pour filler. This product can be purchased locally at a hardware store but you should remember that you will get what you pay for. Our cold pour crack filling applicators are used by professional contractors, meaning they are sturdy enough for the occasional needs of your driveway or parking lot.
I will recommend spending more money here to get a much better product and longer lasting application.
You will need a small "U" or "V" Shaped Squeegee and however much crack filler you determine.
Please refer to our Crack Material Calculator to determine how much crack filler to purchase.
Pour the asphalt crack filler into the crack and immediately smooth the crack using the squeegee. A second application may be necessary if the crack filler settles into the crack and you may need to pre-fill the crack with sand up-to 1/2" below the pavement surface prior to applying the crack filler.
If you're considering using a Hot Melted Crack Filler, please refer to the manufactures instructions but remember that proper preparation is the key here. For ease of use and safety, we recommend cold pour crack fill for homeowners and driveways. If you own a small business or have a small parking lot, feel free to use the cold pour crack filler, but you might also consider moving up to the hot pour crack fill. The benefit to hot vs. cold is a faster dry time. Cold pour can take 4+ hours to cure before driving on vs. Hot pour generally takes around 30-45 min after it has cooled and rubberized.
Filling Asphalt Cracks is not a fun task, but it sure will save you money down the road and keep your asphalt parking lot or driveway surface looking good for many years to come.