Maintaining your asphalt pavement is critical to extending its service life. Addressing problem areas on your pavement right away will save money by delaying or preventing more expensive repairs.
Cracksealing is a maintenance activity in which cracks are routed and then liquid asphalt products (cracksealants) are used to fill and seal the routed cracks. When cracks are routed, a saw blade cuts a trench along the path of the existing crack, widening the crack and creating a ledge to hold the cracksealants. Many different cracksealing products are available and used including: rubberized asphalt, mastic asphalt, asphalt emulsions, polymer modified asphalts and more.
Why should I crackseal my pavement?
Water is a natural enemy of asphalt pavements. The main purpose of cracksealing is to keep water out of existing cracks. Water slowly deteriorates asphalt pavement and cracks allow the water to permeate deeper than just the surface of the pavement. When water gets below the pavement, the base and subgrade materials become saturated and the support for the asphalt pavement is weakened. In winter, keeping the water out of the cracks is especially important, see our past freeze-thaw blog post for more information.
Sealcoating pavement is the process of applying a liquid sealer (typically asphalt emulsion based) to the entire surface of the pavement and allowing it to cure. There any many different forms of sealcoats, but they all serve the same function of slowing the aging process, waterproofing the pavement, and providing a new look to the pavement. Sealcoats are traditionally recommended five to seven years after construction. However, new research suggests that sealcoating pavements within the first two years of construction can significantly mitigate the effects of early aging. After the initial post-construction sealcoat, sealcoating is still recommended every five to seven years.
Why should I sealcoat my pavement?
Sealcoats serve several functions to protect the asphalt pavement. UV radiation from the sun is another natural enemy of asphalt pavements because it causes asphalt to age and become brittle. Sealcoats add a protective layer over the asphalt pavement to slow the aging process. Waterproofing is another great benefit of sealcoating. As mentioned above, water will deteriorate your pavement by getting into small pockets, microcracks, and other areas, but sealcoating the pavement fills these areas with asphalt instead of water. Lastly, nothing looks as good as a new asphalt pavement, but over time the aging of the pavement will turn the asphalt from black to a dull gray. Some sealcoats provide a new fresh looking black pavement again, while chipseals can provide a different look for the pavement by using colored chip aggregates.
Patching is a maintenance activity where severely distressed or deteriorated areas of pavement are removed and replaced with new pavement. Mill patching only corrects surface distresses by removing and replacing 1.5 to 2 inches of the pavement. Full depth patching is better suited for severe distresses like fatigue cracking and potholes because all the affected asphalt is removed. Additional stability can be added with full depth patching by correcting the aggregate base or subgrade prior to replacing the asphalt pavement.
Why should I patch my pavement?
Potholes are the biggest reason to patch your pavement. Potholes can be a liability if a pedestrian were to trip or twist an ankle when stepping in or over them, and potholes can cause serious damage to vehicles. Also, areas with fatigue cracking should be patched when possible, as they cannot be adequately cracksealed. Fatigue cracked areas allow water below the pavement which can cause the fatigue cracking to spread and deteriorate further leading to a pothole.
Once pavement distresses start to surface, it’s critical to address them as soon as possible. By maintaining your asphalt as problems arise, there is a better chance of extending the service life.
Bituminous Roadways Can Help Maintain Your Pavement
Bituminous Roadways, Inc. is the Twin Cities’ most respected and sought-after pavement company. With more than 70 years in the industry, we provide dependable service and the highest level of quality asphalt paving anywhere. Call us today at 651-686-7001 or request a consultation. We proudly serve the Twin Cities metro and surrounding area.
Rajagopal, Arudi, Issam Minkarah, R. Green, and A. A. Morse. Effectiveness of crack sealing on pavement serviceability and life. No. FHWA/OH-2003/009. Ohio Department of Transportation, 2003. View full report here.
Anderson, R. Michael, Phillip B. Blankenship, Alireza Zeinali, Gayle N. King, and Douglas I. Hanson. "Optimal timing of preventive maintenance for addressing environmental aging in hot-mix asphalt pavements." Final Rep. No. MN/RC 2014 15 (2014). View full report here.