The main purpose of a crack sealing job is to prevent water intrusion into your asphalt. The main way it gets in is through the cracks in the pavement, which will, over a period of time, undermine your pavement, causing additional crack failures. This will lead to the eventual failure of the paved area, making repaving, or rebuilding necessary. This very costly option, can be delayed, or avoided altogether with proper maintenance. Asphalt is getting more and more expensive each year. It only makes sense to preserve your initial investment as long as you can.
Proper crack sealing is without question the most important part of an asphalt maintenance program. The first thing to know is the difference between crack filling, and crack SEALING.When a crack is simply filled, the sealer simply fills any voids in the crack and leaves a smooth surface on the top. It LOOKS identical to a properly sealed crack and will have a cheaper selling price.
At Rhino-Seal we prepare all cracks for sealing by cleaning any dirt, grass, or weed sediment out of the crack by what we determine to be the best method. This may require high pressure water, flame, or compressed air, in conjunction with the proper hand tools such as crack diggers, wire brushes, etc. to accomplish the job. We also require use of liquid weed or ant control as needed. The final step is to wire brush the sides of the crack or heat them with a propane torch to leave a clean side wall on the crack. The final result is a crack that has been cleaned to a somewhat uniform depth and cleaned of residue that would prevent a good seal. In addition, the sides of the crack are now clean. This will promote good adhesion to the SIDES of the crack, as well as the top band. this crack is now ready to be SEALED and will last much longer than the above mentioned filled crack.
Although the sealed crack will naturally cost more, it is actually more economical because of the additional time it will last.
Responsible asphalt maintenance dealers guarantee their work. It might be a good idea to inquire how long your dealer has been in business, where specifically they are located, (no cell phone numbers or vague addresses) and how long they have been there.
REMEMBER THIS -- "The Guarantee is only as good as the company that issues it." If, down the road you have a problem, you want to be assured of continued service.
There are many types of crack sealers out there. The first thing you should know is the two main types! COLD and HOT! In this section, we will look at both types and what the differences are. There are times to use both.
The Cold seal is usually used by the homeowner or handyman because of its availabilityand ease of application. It can be bought at your local hardware store, or big box stores. Sealers come packaged in many different ways, from paste, applied with a putty knife, to caulking gun tubes, to liquids that you "drizzle" into place.
Cold sealers all share the same result --- they are temporary fixes. That isn't to say they are not good products. They DO serve a purpose, to get you by until it is time for a permanent repair !! They are good for sealing hairline cracks to prevent water intrusion until the crack is large enough for a "hot Seal". The main problem with the cold seals is that although they stick to the surface, and they DO fill voids, they lack two other important qualities. They are adhesion, and "stretchability" or elongility. Asphalt pavement expands and contracts with the different temperatures. The cracks get larger and smaller along with this cycle. The product used to seal the cracks needs to do the same, or one side or the other eventually "looses its bond" or breaks loose. You are now beginning the crack cycle all over. As a result, repairs made with Cold sealer typically last three months to a year.
Several manufacturers produce hot sealer type material. Each product has its own specific use It is important to select the right product to do the job that YOU need done. What will work in one situation won't necessarily work in another. You should know that there are probably 25-35 different sealers that all look the same to the layman. Your professional contractor should know the difference and be able to match the need with the proper product. This again is where it pays to "know your contractor" because there ARE contractors out there who buy the cheapest product they can lay their hands on in order to maximize profit. At Rhino-Seal we select the best products in hope of getting your repeat business. Remember, some are trying to GROW their business, & some are trying to MILK it !! It's up to YOU to decide which is which !! Repairs made with this type sealer typically last 2 to 5 years.
To begin with, hot sealers are not normally available to the home owner/ handyman. They must be installed with specialized equipment, by properly trained technicians. That being said, lets look at the different equipment required. The application machines are normally propane fired because this type of sealing product is packaged as a solid block that requires melting. The machine heats the pproduct to about 300 degree range prior to application, so it must be used with extreme care, following strict safety rules.
When properly applied, the sealer will run into the prepared crackat about the same consistency as molasses. It will bond to the sides of the crack, and putting approximately a 4 inch over band on the top. After it has cooled you will notice that thisproduct has some very "elastic band" tendencies. This is where elongility comes in. The product can now bend and stretch with the pavement. Basically, you have created an expansion joint in the asphalt, that will keep water OUT !!
A WORD OF CAUTION: Nothing is forever, and your joints will need a "tune up" & re-seal from time to time. That is where the rest of your asphalt maintenance program will come into play, read about this in a different section of this Web page.