Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fill Asphalt Driveway Cracks to Extend Your Driveway's Life

Asphalt driveway crack fillers can prevent further damage to your driveway by preventing surface water from seeping underneath it. When recently walking over a large asphalt paved driveway I noticed numerous cracks in it. I was yet again reminded of the importance of sealing a driveway every few years and filling asphalt driveway cracks as they occur each year. Asphalt driveway sealers and fillers help protect asphalt driveways from the aging effects of repeated heating and cooling by the sun and from water damage.

If you observe cracks in your asphalt driveway it is wise to repair them as soon as possible. Cracks that form in an asphalt driveway typically occur due to an insufficient base of compacted gravel underneath it. When the ground underneath the driveway freezes bulges in the driveway form. In the spring when the ground unthaws the driveway levels out. However this up and down motion after a couple of years in the asphalt causes cracks to form in it. If they are not sealed moisture can more easily penetrate below the asphalt driveway which only increases the frost heaving the following winter. In just one winter/summer cycle, the constant freezing an unfreezing of water underneath the driveway can cause cracks to very rapidly grow in length and width and cause the surrounding driveway area to break up.

Driveway cracks fillers are available that can seal cracks from causing any further damage to your driveway. They should be applied as soon as you observe cracks. Typically cracks are the most pronounced in late spring. If the cracks are not addressed quickly, water will seep underneath the driveway via them and begin to erode the soil under the driveway. Over time, the asphalt will form mini sinkholes where the soil has eroded away underneath it. The cracks will further expand and lengthen as a result.

If the cracks are not filled quickly small plants and tree seedlings can also end up rooting in them. If left unaddressed long enough, the growing root systems associated with the plants and trees can further exacerbate the amount of driveway cracking. Fortunately there is a solution to this problem.

There are several different types of asphalt driveway crack fillers and applicators on the market for applying them. It is important to use the right type of applicator. The width of the cracks dictate the type of applicator that should be used. In general, however, fillers fall into two main categories, hot applied sealers and cold applied asphalt emulsions.

Cold applied asphalt emulsions which incorporate latex and polymers additives are the most common types of asphalt driveway crack fillers. They are applied by simply pouring or extruding them into the cracks. For cracks less than 1/8 inch in width a pourable jug crack filler works fine. For cracks up to ½ inch in width a caulking tube of asphalt crack filler should be applied with a caulking gun. For wider cracks a trowel can be used to spread the crack filler from a bucket.

Hot applied sealers typically require professional asphalt repair service companies to apply. However, the company Dalton Enterprises does offer a hot applied asphalt driveway crack filler that DIY homeowners can apply. The product, called Pli-Stix, is a rope type piece of elastomeric self leveling sealant that is pushed into the asphalt crack. It is then melted into place with a propane torch.

Don't go cheap when looking for asphalt crack fillers. Use a high quality product. Higher quality ones will hold up and include more solids in them. Yes they are pricier, but their costs are small in comparison to having to replace the asphalt driveway or to refill cracks every year.

Fall is the perfect time of the year to do asphalt driveway crack repair as the weather is typically drier and the air is still warm. Moreover, any cracks that might have formed or increased in size during the summer months can be addressed before winter's freezing temperatures can cause even further damage to your driveway.

Over the past 25+ years Mark Donovan has been involved with building homes and home additions. For more information on Asphalt Driveways and Home Building visit and his DIY Home Addition Weblog.

Article Source:  Fill Asphalt Driveway Cracks to Extend Your Driveway's Life

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