Asphalt Maintenance 101 – The Benefits of Sealcoating, Crack Filling, and Patching

Sealcoating, crack filling and patching are three methods to maintain the longevity, health and aesthetics of your parking lot.
We preserve old houses by painting, caulking and replacing old and rotted boards and help old cars run for many years by changing the oil and replacing engine parts. Asphalt surfaces are no different; They require the same attention and upkeep over time. At Raleigh Paving, we like to refer to this as the ‘maintenance barrier triangle’ – maintaining your asphalt’s barrier, or first line of defense against the elements.
Let’s explore the ‘barrier’ properties of each of these maintenance techniques.
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Sealcoating

Sealcoating is useful as a barrier for your asphalt’s surface.
Over time, sunlight hardens asphalt and breaks down the functional properties of the surface through oxidation. When asphalt oxidizes, it becomes brittle and cracks easily.
Sealcoating shields the asphalt from the harmful oxidation effects of the sun. Flexible asphalt can react to temperature changes and the impacts of heavy loads by allowing the asphalt to expand and contract without breaking apart.
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Because asphalt is just a mixture of stone and tar, the surface can have voids and air pockets. Some of the voids exist during the initial paving, while some develop over time from a combination of traffic flow and the oxidation effects of the sun.
Sealcoating helps to fill those voids, in turn reducing or eliminating water penetration into the first ¼-inch of the surface. Water movement across a voided surface creates friction – another enemy of asphalt. Over time, friction will cause your asphalt surface to break down.
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Sealcoating also acts as a first line of defense against harmful chemicals commonly leaked by vehicles onto asphalt, such as gas, oil and antifreeze. Any kind of petroleum product will break the asphalt down, in the same way that paint thinner breaks up oil-based paints.
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Crack Filling

Crack filling provides barrier protection by treating random cracks with rubberized hot pour crack filler. Properly preparing the crack before crack filling is of the utmost importance otherwise the rubberized crack filler will not adhere to the the old asphalt.

Patching

When cracks are not random and are causing pavement failure, patching and full depth repairs might be a better alternative.
While crack filling and patching is done on all types of asphalt surfaces, seal coating is not ideal for high speed roadways because seal coating can significantly shorten reaction times. Seal coating is ideal for:

  • Residential roadways
  • Parking lots
  • Greenways, bicycle paths, trailways, golf cart paths
  • Airports

Proper maintenance can significantly increase the life of your asphalt not to mention the aesthetic benefits of placing a “like new” barrier membrane surface over your precious investment.
Raleigh Paving is a commercial asphalt paving and site contractor. We serve the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte metro areas of North Carolina including Raleigh, Greensboro and Winston Salem.