Asphalt crack sealing 101

At Jet-Seal we put our customers first, which is why we wanted to write about residential asphalt maintenance so you can better understand what to expect.

This article will help you understand the crack sealing process. A well informed customer tends to be a happy customer. We at Jet-Seal want to do all we can to help make your expectations realistic.

Asphalt maintenance is a comprehensive program consisting of among other things, crack sealing. Jet-Seal uses different asphalt crack sealing products for different applications. For commercial asphalt parking lots we use a hot rubber sealant. This product is the most effective product but there are downsides to using it for residential driveways. Besides the possibility of tracking the biggest reason we hesitate to use a hot rubber sealant is appearance. While even our alternative cold pour product (no heating required) has a contrast to our sealcoat the hot rubber product has a more definitive contrast. Jet-Seal uses Brewer Everlastic, a dark blend of acrylic co-polymers and reinforcing fillers specifically designed to outperform traditional based crack fillers.

Everlastic is fast drying, exhibits minimal shrinkage and remains flexible over a broad temperature range. It can be used to seal cracks up to ½” in width. It quite simply is the best cold pour product on the market.

Crack sealing prevents water from entering the base of the driveway causing structural damage that leads to potholes. Depending on the amount and type of cracks it can be a cost effective way to prolong the life of the asphalt driveway. If a driveway has an excessive amount of cracks it is not cost effective to perform the service. If the cost of the service exceeds the benefits we will tell you. If the cracks are structural in nature we will let you know and advise you on the most cost effective approach to take.

One of the most important things to understand about crack sealing is that the service is an ongoing maintenance item. Once a crack forms it is not a matter of if it will open back up but a matter of when. The freeze/thaw cycle here in central Ohio is the main culprit of crack seal failure but there are other causes. Water seeping up from the stone base to the surface of the driveway will cause adhesion problems. A ½” crack on the surface could be much wider at the base of the driveway causing the sealant to fail sooner than expected. If this is obvious at the time of the service we will fill the crack with sand before applying the crack sealant. This can sometimes cause a difference in texture and highlight the contrast between the crack sealant and the sealcoat.

Because it is impossible to determine the severity of the crack from its appearance on the surface of the driveway along with the movement due to the freeze thaw cycle we cannot guarantee crack sealing. It is also helpful to understand that just because the crack sealant sinks below the surface of the driveway it doesn’t mean the crack is not sealed.

Finally, if you see tiny surface cracks less than 1/8” in width after our sealcoating process, don’t be alarmed. Most of the time these tiny cracks don’t penetrate the base, and going back to the cost vs. benefit factor (crack sealing is very labor intensive) most of the time every single crack is not going to be addressed.