While asphalt is durable and flexible, cycling seasons, heavy traffic, and regular wear and tear can cause simple cracking over the years. If left untreated, small cracks in your parking lot can become potholes, large crevices, or even sunken in areas that are expensive to repair. If you’re wondering whether or not you should repair the cracks right away, the answer is yes.
2 Major Reasons Why You Should Fill the Cracks Right Away
In getting the asphalt cracks repaired right away, this will help you prevent moisture from getting trapped in your parking lot’s foundation. 2 major reasons for repairing are:
- Water can seep into the cracks, run down into the foundation and freeze. When freezing occurs, the water expands, pushing against the surface of your asphalt parking lot and causing further cracking. When the water thaws, the space it created during expansion will be left behind, weakening your pavement with soft spots.
- Vegetation will grow in the cracks and if left for a long period of time, the roots of the plant can push on the pavement as it gets bigger. As more and more vegetation grows, the surface of your asphalt parking lot begins to break apart in more than one place.
Without simple crack repair, your parking lot may need to be replaced fully if the damage persists for too long.
How to DIY Fix Your Parking Lot Cracks
Cracks that are under 1-inch wide, are straight or zig zag across your parking lot, are easily repairable with either melt-in crack filler or cold pour rubberized crack filler.
Here are the general steps of what you will need to do.
- Before you begin, check the weather forecast and make sure that it will not rain for at least 24-hours. If rain is forecasted, wait for another weekend to repair.
- You will need to completely clear the crack of any debris. This includes dirt, soil, and vegetation that has grown in. Manual tools like trowels or screwdrivers work well for this. Professionals will typically use an asphalt crack heat lance as this burns away vegetation and removes moisture.
While you can use pressure water or a garden hose to remove debris, this isn’t advisable unless you are going to have an extreme heat spell for a few days. The risk with using water is that you may push it further down into the layers of your asphalt’s foundation.
- Either sweep away or use an air compressor to blow away any debris from the crack once you’ve pulled it all out. If using an air compressor, be careful to not blow the debris back down into the crack.
- If you use water to remove debris from the crack, allow it to completely dry out.
- If the crack is really deep, you should pre-fill it with sand until about the ½” point below the pavement’s surface.
- For cold pour crack filler, fill the crack until it is level with the surrounding asphalt and then smooth it out with a trowel. It can take 4+ hours for cold pour to cure.
- If using melt-in asphalt crack filler, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. While melt-in takes considerably less time to cure than cold pour crack filler, you should wait 24-hours for both to ensure stability and curing.
While fixing small cracks can be completed in just a few days, when working with a larger parking lot, it is often better to call a commercial parking lot maintenance service to get the job done quicker.
When Is It Time to Call a Professional?
If you notice that your parking lot has a lot of smaller cracks that have a distinctive pattern that looks like alligator skin or chicken wire, this is known as fatigue cracking. This type of cracking is best handled by a professional as it usually indicates that there are problems with the underlying layers of your asphalt. Essentially, this type of cracking happens when the pavement layers are carrying too much stress and the supporting structure cannot withstand it.
If you are a property manager, contractor, or business owner, contact us about our FREE annual parking lot walk thru and maintenance program. Once a year, we will send out one of our parking lot experts to discuss and address the needs of your parking lot. Our goal is to save you time and money by planning and budgeting for future needs. Contact us now to get started! You can give us a call today at (407) 618-9646 or fill out a contact form.