There are many different reasons that asphalt cracks. Weather, proximity to trees, and the freeze/thaw cycle, are some of the factors that can cause cracking.
Dry weather — Generally, most cracking occurs during periods of minimal rainfall and warm temperatures. The lack of moisture in the soil causes the ground to contract and separate.
Visible cracks and gaps in a lawn are telltale signs that the soil is contracting. This shrinking of the soil occurs not only on the edges of pavement, but also underneath it. It is this movement which leads to the cracking of the asphalt.
Trees/shrub — Asphalt pavement installed in close proximity to trees or shrubs is likely to crack. Root systems draw water out of the soil. During periods of low rainfall, this process causes ground movement which in turn results in cracking.
Freeze/thaw cycles — The seasonal weather of Ontario puts a great deal of stress on pavements. The freezing and thawing of the ground can cause the asphalt to rise and fall. This vertical movement sometimes results in cracking.
An inadequate stone base or heavy traffic can also cause cracking. These conditions are caused by poor installation and poor design, rather than the
natural factors listed above.
Sealcoating protects asphalt from the damaging effects of the environment, including moisture and ultraviolet oxidation, while restoring color and uniformity. It also minimizes raveling (the loss of aggregate) and fills minor voids in the surface to maintain safety.
New asphalt should be sealed 9-12 months after installation. Sealcoat should then be applied every two to three years, depending on traffic volume and overall condition of the asphalt.
Not all asphalt should be sealcoated. Pavements that exhibit extensive alligator cracking, base failure, or severe surface oxidation will not significantly benefit from sealcoating. To ensure proper adhesion, your asphalt surface should be evaluated prior to an application of sealcoat.
Normal curing time for sealcoat is 24 hours for moderate temperature and humidity conditions.
Crack sealing is a repair which fills cracks with a hot, elastic material. It’s a cost-effective way to maintain your asphalt and prevent major damage so you can
extend the life of your pavement.
Subgrade moisture is one of the leading causes of pavement failure, and crack sealing helps prevent moisture infiltration to extend pavement life and save
money. Typically, we recommend sealing cracks ¼ inch wide or greater.
Asphalt crack routing is an advanced method of crack sealing. A router is used to create a clean, dry, reservoir so cracks can be evenly sealed with an elastic material that protects against moisture infiltration. It’s the most cost-effective way to maintain your asphalt and prevent major damage so you can extend the life of your pavement.