The most common complaint about pavement quality from motorists is rarely about the type of asphalt crack filler applied by the local department of transportation. Instead, it’s about the potholes. But in fact how those initial cracks are addressed makes the difference between smooth and potholed roads.
Bituminous asphalt is the preferred road building material across most of the globe. It’s seamless, unlike concrete, and all things considered it’s fairly resilient. It can be long-lasting if repairs are done on a timely basis. What’s important is those roads be monitored and small problems addressed before they become bigger. This is where asphalt crack filler options need to be weighed carefully.
It’s truly “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” situation. The reason for this is once there are fissures in the asphalt, moisture is allowed to enter and seep down to the subsurface. Freeze-thaw cycles accelerate the process, but even in moderate temperatures moisture is the enemy of pavement. It undermines the pavement, eroding the subsurface such that it either slumps or pushes apart – when potholes appear it’s the end result of this deterioration taking place over weeks, months or even years.
Not all pavement cracks and their repairs are the same, and they fall into roughly (pun intended) two categories:
The single crack: Perhaps due to settling, seismic activity, poor design, or shoddy installation, a section of asphalt might have a single fissure that can be filled with crack sealer. The sealer will keep out moisture if the surrounding earth has stabilized.
The “road map of cracks:” In this scenario, which is often characterized by multiple cracks running in cross-wise directions, it may be due to settling and undermining of the road surface in that one spot. Very often the best fix for cracked pavement of this type is to use EZ Street Premium Cold Asphalt. It can be applied in all weather conditions and temperatures, even in water, for a permanent bond with surrounding (stable) pavement.
A study out of University of Minnesota, funded Minnesota Department of Transportation (“Cost/Benefit Analysis of the Effectiveness of Crack Sealing Techniques,” Manik Barman, 2019), found that three different types of materials can be used to seal and fill asphalt cracks. They are cold-applied liquid asphalt or polymer-modified liquid asphalt (EZ Street Premium Cold Asphalt is polymer-modified), hot applied bituminous materials, and chemically cured thermosetting matters such as self-leveling silicone.
The study conclusion advises DOTs to assess crack severity, pavement type (new vs. overlay), pavement design life, levels of traffic, and the extent of the cracks in determining the smartest course of action in road repair work.