Asphalt Pavement Maintenance 101
We use asphalt pavement in many ways, for driving, parking, playing and walking. But how is it maintained? What should you do if your pavement develop cracks, stains, or potholes? We guide you through all the steps on maintaining your own asphalt.
Cleaning Asphalt Surfaces
Before doing any repairs, you must clean the asphalt. This will ensure proper adherence and will help your repairs last longer.
- Any asphalt cracks will need to be cleared of debris: broken asphalt pieces, sediment, weeds, grass, etc. Use a screwdriver to dig out the debris, or use a crack cleaning machine to comfortably and easily scour out your asphalt’s cracks.
- Oil and fuel stains will also need to be cleaned off your pavement by using a degreaser.
- Clean off the entire asphalt surface by using a blower or broom. You can also use a pressure washer, but you’ll have to wait for the water to evaporate before proceeding.
Now that your driveway or parking lot is clear of debris, you can go to the next step of asphalt maintenance!
Any cracks or potholes should be fixed for the overall longevity of your pavement. Rain and melting snow can penetrate these openings in your asphalt and freeze when winter comes, making the problem worse. Once potholes become depressions or the asphalt becomes too cracked and falling apart, it could cost much more money to repair or may even require expensive replacement.
Be proactive about asphalt cracks and pothole repairs!
For cracks that are 1 ¼ cm wide or smaller, you can use a cold pour crack filler. Fill and compress sand into the crack until it’s about 1 ¼ cm deep and apply the cold crackfill by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
For wider cracks, a hot pour crack filler should be used. This involves special equipment, such as an RY10 PRO Melter Applicator or a crackfill melter oven and pour pot. This asphalt repair equipment is used to melt blocks of rubberized crackfiller and to apply the hot material to cracks. The filler solidifies to seal out water and moisture.
For areas with many small cracks that look like the back of an alligator, a product called Gator Patch should be used. It’s a material that you can spread over the cracked surface to block water from penetrating. While this can be used to fill cracks up to 3 ¾ cm, we advise not to, as this material does not expand and contract like rubberized filler would. It is best used to cover gator cracks and areas with many small cracks that would be too difficult to repair individually.
No one likes to drive through potholes. Being proactive about potholes means less frustration and a better outcome for your asphalt surface in the long run! Use a cold pothole patch to easily fill in your potholes. You can use it year round too, which is perfect for Canadian asphalt!
First, fill in the pothole with sand until the pothole is 2.5 cm deep. Add the cold patch to the pothole and overfill it slightly. Compress it down using a tamper or shovel, and spread sand lightly over the cold patch to prevent sticking.
Small Potholes or Depressions
If there are spots on your asphalt where you wish you could just heat it up and move the existing asphalt around, you can use an Infrared Asphalt Heater to heat up and soften a 2-foot by 2-foot area. Rake the malleable asphalt to where it should be, and tamp it down into place. This can be used to fix cracks, potholes, manholes, etc.
Sealcoating Driveways and Parking Lots
When your repairs have set in and cured, then it’s time to seal coat! Sealing your asphalt will make your asphalt repairs last longer and will also protect your pavement from damage. Sealcoat every 2 years to keep your asphalt in shape.
To see whether it’s a good time to sealcoat, check your local forecast. If temperatures are above 15° Celsius and there is no precipitation for the next few days, you can sealcoat your asphalt. Here are two ways to tackle this:
- Use a squeegee or broom to apply sealer from a bucket. You can use a paintbrush to do the edges; for the rest of the asphalt, pour some sealer out from one side of your surface and use the squeegee/broom to pull the sealer towards the other side.
- Use a sealcoat spray system to apply sealer from a drum, tote or tank. This is ideal for large swaths of asphalt like parking lots or large driveways. You would edge the asphalt first, and then spray sealer evenly in rows, slightly overlapping what you’ve already sprayed.
Once the asphalt sealcoat has been applied, block the area to traffic and let it cure according to the sealer manufacturer’s directions. Sunny days will help the sealer to dry faster. After the sealer is cured, you will have a beautiful-looking blacktop that looks like new.
Line Striping Parking Areas
If you own a parking lot, you know how important it is to have clearly designated parking spaces marked for your users. While a freshly sealcoated parking lot looks nice with its dark look, it will look even better with bright crisp lines.
Using tape and a paint roller is a low-cost way of painting parking lot lines, but it’s also very time-consuming. For the sharpest lines that last and won’t hurt your back, you’ll want to use a line painting machine. Many of them also have removable paint guns that you can use to paint stencils for your handicap stalls, fire lanes, and arrows.
That’s the asphalt maintenance process for driveways, walkways and parking lots! If you’re looking for the equipment and supplies to maintain your own asphalt so it lasts, give us a call at (855)554-4386 or use the form below.