Crack filling asphalt is the best way to extend the life of your blacktop for many years to come. However, it is not as simple as pouring a sealant and calling it a day. There is a proper way to do so.

If you don't know how, this guide will show you why it's a critical maintenance job for every homeowner. We will also teach you how to properly handle crack sealants so you can do-it-yourself but get a longer-lasting repair. Reminder, not every job is a do-it-yourself task so, we will also let you know when you are better off with hiring a pro.

    Why It's Important to Perform Crack Repair Every Year

Crack filling asphalt every year is just as important as checking your drainage system. It's strange, but true that no one ever thinks twice about fixing a hole in their home, and yet they ignore the damage to their driveway. 

Anywhere there is a place for water to find a way into your blacktop is where water will continue to cause damage. It will widen the cracks, erode the foundation causing sinkholes, and in freeze-and-thaw cycles, it will push the asphalt up.

Plus, it's a perfect place for weeds to grow and their roots will wreak even more havoc. That's why using crack seal, and some basic crack filling equipment will pay huge dividends in the lifespan of your driveway or parking lot.

    Preparing for Crack Filling Asphalt

This is the most time-consuming and most important part of the job, but it's also easy for any DIY'er. To get the longest-lasting repair, the crack seal has to have a solid area to stick to. If not, the sealant will not properly adhere to the asphalt, which means moisture, water, and dirt will seep through, cause more damage, and ultimately defeats the purpose of sealing your driveway in the first place.

So, how can you prepare a pothole for crack filling? A pro would use specialized crack filling equipment like a heat lance, but you don't have to get one. You can get the work done with a chisel, hammer, and a wire brush. Follow these easy tips to get a better seal, every time! 

  • First, remove any vegetation from the crack. A bit of vinegar will work to kill them if you can't get the roots.
  • Brush out debris with a stiff brush or screwdriver. Grab a hammer and chisel and get any half-loose pieces on the edges removed too. Don't skimp on this step: the more thorough you are now, the better the seal will adhere to the cracked area. 
  • Use the wire brush to finish clearing out the crack. You can also use a blower. 

Remember that crack filling asphalt success depends on a dry and solid area for the crack seal to adhere to. That means you can't just use a pressure washer; the water will take too long to dry. An air compressor, or even a hair dryer, could be a handy piece of crack filling equipment to dry the area thoroughly.

Pro Tip: If the depth of the crack is more than 2 inches, top up with coarse gravel (not pea gravel because it rolls!) and tamp down firmly.

    Filling Cracks Under ½ Inch

Crack filling asphalt potholes and cracks that are 1/2" small is easy. You can use a cold pour crack filler. You can use a caulking gun as your crack filling equipment and a U-shaped squeegee. Apply and fill the entire crack, then squeegee and allow the crack seal to dry.

    Filling Cracks Over ½ Inch

This type of repair is more challenging than smaller potholes or cracks, only because it needs rubberized hot pour crack filler. For this, you'll need to hire a pro who has proper crack filling equipment to heat and apply, or you'll need to invest in the tools to do it yourself. Once you have the hot pour melted, crack filling asphalt is easy. Then, apply the melted sealant to the pothole or crack. You should make sure to fill all the crevices and corners. Slightly overfill, and tamp down firmly with an oiled piece of plywood and your vehicle. Allow the crack seal to cure and dry.

Alternatively, for cracks that are more than 1 and a half inches deep, you can use sand to fill the base halfway. Here's why you should consider using sand: 

  • It makes the crack filler ready for walking on much earlier than if you don't put sand on it
  • On hot summer days, the rubber filler won't become too sticky if it has sand on it
  • It adds durability to the surface of the crack fill, making it more resistant to wear and tear
  • It helps to create a bond between sealcoating or asphalt sealer and the asphalt surface, so the crack filler doesn't repel the sealer.

Finishing Tips: It is recommended to sealcoat once the area has cured.

Now you know why you need to look after your blacktop: it is a form of protection that's no different from fixing a hole in your house. Prep by cleaning, clearing, and drying the area you want to fill with crack seal. Use the right type of filler for the size of the crack. If you need to use hot pour crack filler, hire a pro or get yourself the right crack filling equipment. Now you know exactly how to do the job, so get out there and start crack filling asphalt!

For help with crack filling and other asphalt crack repair needs, email or call our friendly, expert staff. They're always happy to help!

Are you interested in working in this field professionally?  Check out our Business Sealcoating Package for the combination of products you need to be successful in this business.