Crack Sealing

Cracks refers to opening of sorts on pavement surfaces. Paving structure expands and contracts due to daily and seasonal temperature changes, causing stress on the construction. When the stress is unbearable, the structure breaks and cracks form.

Other than being aesthetically disturbing, asphalt fissures expose the underlying structure and allow entering of water, debris and other materials, deteriorating the structure. This essentially weakens the whole structure and poses safety hazards to road users. If left untreated, crevices can lead to bigger problems and larger costs in order to fix them.

Although not the only solution, fractures are commonly fixed by a process called crack sealing, referring to filling of the ruptures by specific materials such that the clefts are filled and water entry and entering of other materials is prevented.

When is the best time to seal?
Since Vaughan and Southern Ontario in general experiences significant temperature differences throughout the year, the size of rifts vary depending on the time of year. Generally speaking, winter is a better time to seal slits because this is when the chinks are the largest. The process during warmer weather such as summer could lead to reformation of the gaps so it’s generally not recommended.

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Crack Sealing Procedure

The sealing process consists of four major steps:
1. Chink Identification and Analysis
To be able to seal gaps, we must first be able to locate it and identify its type. Not all crannies require filling so the ones that are seal-worthy need to be identified. As such, there are several types of interstices.
Block crevasses, resulting from temperature change, begin as transverse fissures and eventually connect with longitudinal crevices. Forming blocks. Hence the name. Although block fractures do not constitute a load associated structural failure, failure to seal it can still allow water entry into the base and cause structural damage.
Ruptures often form in places where old and new asphalt borders. Such rifts are known as widening joints as it’s formed along the joint between old and new asphalt.
Reflective Cracking, yet another type of clefts, is slits formed on asphalt overlaid on concrete. The name suggests that this type of chinks reflect the underlying gaps of cement. Therefore, it needs to be sealed to prevent water penetration.

2. Cleaning and Preparation
Clean and dry crannies are essential to effective bonding between the sealant and the paving. Compressed air as well as hot air lance are used to clean the interstices. Compressed air removes the debris by pumping pressurized air into the crevasses, forcing the debris out of the fissures. Hot air lance combines high-pressured air and flames, therefore cleans and dries the crevice. In addition, the heated asphalt makes bonding to adhesive easier.

3. Glue Application
When applying binder, typically a wand is attached to a sealer machine such that the temperature can be maintained and additional material handling can be avoided. A pour pot is used to contain the adhesive. It’s important that glue remains hot. When the glue cools down, it has to be reheated. This is especially important during cold weather. Due to the high temperature of the binder, workers need to wear gloves for protection. Fractures should be filled to the level equal to the paving surface. Overfilling should be avoided because excess sealer is susceptible to scraping by snow blowers.

4. Squeegee Ruptures
As rifts are filled with adhesive, the squeegee operation levels and smooths out excess glue. As squeegee moves over a cleft, it turns the excess binder into a thin film of sealer across the surface, adding to adhesion. The squeegee is placed immediately behind the adhesive applicator, usually within 5 feet because glue cools very quickly. Once binder cools, it’s not possible to reshape it. After this process, wait until the sealer cools down. Then, the road surface is now ready for traffic.

The time required for the whole process is approximately 50 minutes.

The sealing process might look easy. However, there are many intricacies and nuances in practice. Therefore, it’s best to consult with a professional when in need. Vaughan Paving Pros is the number one crack sealing company in the area and is always here to help. Call us at 289-217-9180 for a free onsite quote.

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