Though durable and long-lasting, asphalt is still prone to develop cracks over time. Luckily, these can be easily repaired with a tube of caulk-like crack sealant. If your asphalt driveway is in need of crack sealing, read on. This article will present three tips for sealing an asphalt surface the right way:
1. Properly prep the crack.
Before you start in with the sealant, it's vital you do a few things to facilitate proper bonding. First of all, use a small hand broom to clear any dirt and loose debris from the crack. If the crack is too deep or too narrow to get clean with a broom, you can always use a shop vac or compressed air gun to blow away debris.
Second, give the instructions on the sealant's packaging a thorough read-through. Different products have different requirements as far as ideal moisture and temperature conditions. In general, you should avoid applying the sealant if the asphalt is excessively wet, or if temperatures are below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Use plenty of sealant.
When it comes time to start pumping sealant, many people suddenly get trigger shy and under fill the crack. Once the sealant has dried, this will result in a visible depression along the surface of the crack. This provides the perfect place for water to pool--and where water pools, cracks form. In other words, by using an insufficient amount of sealant, you guarantee that you'll have another crack to fill before long.
Instead, use enough sealant to form a slight hump above the plane of the driveway. Then, using a scrap of wood (or, if you're wearing rubber gloves, your thumb), press the sealant down so that it is level with the adjacent portions of asphalt. This will help to ensure a flat surface, thus increasing the lifespan and strength of the patch.
3. Stud the surface of the sealant with loose filler.
Even when properly applied, crack sealant noticeably interrupts the aesthetic continuity of your asphalt. Lucky for you, there is something you can do to help minimize the appearance of sealed cracks.
Before you apply any sealant to the crack, take a few moments to look around at the edges of your driveway. What you're looking for are any pieces of gravel that may have worked loose from the surface of your asphalt over time. Don't worry--if you look hard enough, you'll find plenty. Likewise, try to scoop up a small amount of sand as well.
Once the crack is filled, carefully press some of the stones you've collected into the surface of the sealant. Not only will these help to hide the crack, but they'll also provide an extra measure of internal stability. Then sprinkle sand over the crack and push it in slightly with your fingers to ensure a solid bond. Voila, crack disguised!