Can Sealcoating Be Used to Fill Cracks?

Can Sealcoating Be Used to Fill Cracks?

Asphalt parking lots tend to crack. Cracks are not good for your lot, allowing water through into the layers below. A lot of people believe that driveway sealcoating can fill these cracks. Is this true? What are the alternatives?

Copy of (Crack Seal)Castleton Real Estate Development; Pomona (21-375) IS (2)

Can Sealcoating Fill Cracks?

First, understand what sealcoating does. It protects the asphalt and darkens its color, which many people find looks better. It also protects the asphalt from oxidation (which can make it brittle) and it seals the surface.

However, it can't seal cracks. Sealcoating will fill very small hairline cracks up to 1/8th of an inch, but you might not even have noticed those cracks. Sealcoating your asphalt will help deal with those tiny cracks.

Anything larger, though, and not only will sealcoating not help, but the crack will make it so you can't apply the coating. It won't stretch with the crack and will simply break, doing your parking lot no good and wasting money.

So, no, you should not use sealcoating to fill cracks in your lot and a reputable contractor will not apply it over cracks.

What Service Should Be Used to Fill Those Cracks?

A rubberized asphalt crack filler is the most common alternative. The crack is prepared and the rubberized material is applied to the entire depth of the crack. It bonds to the surrounding asphalt and behaves like asphalt, expanding and contracting with temperature fluctuations. Hot pour materials work best on cracks up to 3/4". There are cold pour sealants too, but hot pour is what most professionals use as it is more effective.

If you have a crack that's too large, typically over an inch wide, or "alligator" cracks then you need to talk to a professional. It may require specialized crack sealant or the area may need to be repaired. A good contractor will tell you what the best approach is.

Sealcoating can help extend the life of your asphalt once you have filled your cracks. However, you need to fill the cracks and make any repairs first. Once you notice the cracks, fill them as soon as possible.

Why Should Cracks Be Filled?

The most important reason to fill cracks involves water. Water will slide into the cracks and then into the fine aggregates that support your asphalt. There it will erode the material until the next time a large SUV drives over it, bang, you have a pothole. Promptly filling cracks, thus, prevents them from turning into unsightly and potentially dangerous potholes. It can also protect you from a lawsuit if the pothole damages somebody's vehicle.

Another reason is that vegetation can settle into cracks. Grass, wildflowers, and even trees have been seen growing 'through' parking lots. Needless to say, the roots will also damage the aggregate and potentially the asphalt itself.

But the primary reason to fill cracks is to reduce the amount of water that penetrates your pavement. Water can also cause the asphalt to oxidize and turn brittle, and once your pavement starts to oxidize, then patching repair is the only option. Filling cracks is cheaper than having to patch or resurface part of the lot. In other words, promptly filling cracks as soon as you find out about them will save you money in the long run. Inspect your parking lot regularly and make sure to deal with cracks before they turn into worse problems or potholes.

If your parking lot has cracks, then we can help. Contact Empire Parking Lot Services for an inspection to determine what your parking lot needs and to schedule crack sealing or repairs.

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