Asphalt crack repair in Toronto is a cost-effective and infinitely beneficial method of keeping your commercial and residential parking lot or driveway safe and operational following the cold winter months. Your asphalt sustains a great deal of pressure and potentially damaging effects as a direct result of being exposed to cold weather, heavy precipitation, and the relentless freeze-thaw cycles that mother nature throws at it for six months out of the year. All of that combined with consistent vehicular and foot traffic can spell out disaster for your property. A particularly tumultuous winter season has the potential to cause extensive damages to your asphalt, especially if there were preexisting cracks that were neglected before winter started. The best time to implement repairs is as soon as they’re needed.
Things You Need to Know about Asphalt Crack Repair
Asphalt crack repair in Toronto is absolutely crucial during this time of year. Right now, we’re in the transitional phase between winter and spring. The climate is right on the brink of warming up, but we’re still likely to experience a few snowfalls and rainfalls along the way.
While these aren’t necessarily ideal weather conditions to be dealing with while repairing your asphalt, you should actively be keeping any eye out for potentially cost-prohibitive damages. During this ti
me of year, there’s a lot of ice and water buildup from the melting snow. On top of that, the weight of vehicular and foot traffic on your commercial property can place a great deal of pressure on your asphalt.
Combined with the melting snow and water runoff, this extra weight can weaken the structural and load-bearing integrity of your asphalt from beneath the surface. To the untrained eye, these damages can be difficult or almost impossible to notice at first, but there are some telltale signs of pavement distress you should be looking for.
Asphalt raveling—loose pieces of asphalt breaking apart, rough texture, loss of skid resistance, and pooling water—is just one of many different types of distress your pavement can endure during the winter months.
Types of Asphalt Cracks
You might not know this, but there are many different types of asphalt cracks that your pavement can endure. Each type of crack requires a certain type of asphalt crack repair to prevent future damages. Keep in mind that the following isn’t a comprehensive list of the different types of cracks your asphalt parking lot might sustain, but these are some of the more common forms of pavement distress that happen in Toronto.
By far, shrinkage cracks are the most common form of cracking your asphalt pavement will sustain throughout its lifetime. With constant exposure to exterior elements and oxidation, this type of cracking is inevitable, but there is something you can do to prolong the process from occurring. Sealcoating is one of the best preventative measures you can implement to preserve your commercial asphalt parking lot as long as possible.
In fact, you should be sealcoating your pavement about once every 2-3 years as part of your regular maintenance routine. Shrinkage cracks start off as very thin hairline fractures in your pavement. Over time, they can expand and fill up with water and debris, causing them to increase in size.
As with any type of structure, the strength and durability of the internal foundation of your asphalt parking lot is imperative to its sustainability. Without a proper foundation, the entire structure could collapse. This doesn’t necessarily happen all at once, though. It can be a prolonged process characterized by the formation of stress cracks.
Stress cracks occur when an unstable asphalt parking lot sustains a great deal of pressure and weight over a certain period of time—and it doesn’t have to be anything out of the ordinary. It can even be caused by regular usage such as foot and vehicular traffic.
Linear cracks are also directly caused by a combination of laying down an inadequate foundation for your pavement parking lot and continuous pressure over time. The difference is that linear cracks usually run parallel to the centerline of the asphalt and originate on the surface.
Reflection cracking usually occurs over existing cracks or damages. Joint reflection cracking is a subset of this and is usually caused by the rising, expanding, and contracting of a weak and damaged overlay or substrate.
Think of potholes as extensions of existing damages like cracks, depressions, and dips that have been neglected over a long period of time. The more traffic your asphalt pavement sustains over time, the more likely it is to develop potholes as well. Any cracks or damages that are neglected can collect water and debris, which cause erosion over time.
As vehicles continue to drive over the cracked and damaged portions of your parking lot, the cracks will continue to expand as pieces of asphalt keep breaking off. Not only does this look unprofessional if you own a business, but it also creates a lot of potential safety hazards for anyone who uses your parking lot and can damage people’s vehicles.
Shoving is when you notice random ripples or a wavy texture (also known as corrugation) in some parts of your asphalt. This is caused by a steady flow of traffic and constant weight of heavy vehicles on your asphalt parking lot. Shoving typically occurs at points where traffic abruptly stops and starts such as stop signs or in parking spaces due to the direct additional pressure exuded by vehicles when motorists use their brakes.
Edge cracks can be a direct result of shrinkage. As the name suggests, edge cracking is a form of pavement distress that happens along the edges of your parking lot where the asphalt meets the curb or drops off completely.
What Are the Different Asphalt Crack Repair Methods in Toronto?
Before you go into full overhaul mode, note that there are several methods of asphalt crack repair in Toronto that can be used to correct any damages Mother Nature may have done to your parking lot this winter.
Asphalt Crack Filling
Crack filling is a temporary repair that is susceptible to premature failure. The repair process involves blowing the debris out of the asphalt crack and filling it with hot rubber. Crack filling is expected to last up to 12 months.
Asphalt Rout & Seal
Rout & Seal is a permanent crack repair method that lasts for several years. Provincial Governments mandate this type of long-lasting repair due to its proven performance. The repair process involves routing cracks to create a reservoir suitable for receiving hot rubber using an overband applictaion method. Each crack becomes like an expansion joint which allows for expansion and contraction. Rout & Seal is expected to last for about 5-15 years.
Benefits of Asphalt Crack Repair
Simply observing and making note of the damages winter has caused to your property isn’t enough. You have to take action and the sooner you do it, the better for your pavement and your bank account. Mounting and expanding cracks will undoubtedly result in more costly repairs in the future. Over time, water and other debris will inevitably infiltrate the surface of your asphalt pavement, exacerbating the existing problems and causing them to spread. Immediate asphalt crack repair has the following benefits:
Prevents Water Infiltration and Pavement Erosion
Above all other elements, water is your pavement’s worst enemy. Once it permeates the surface of your asphalt, it can cause either irreparable or expensive structural damages. Water erodes asphalt and the longer it remains in direct contact with your pavement, the greater the chances are of cracks expanding and forming potholes or depressions in the ground. Filling in or sealing cracks as early on as possible is the best way to prevent this from happening.
Minimizes Crack Expansion
The longer you neglect to repair the cracks in your pavement, the more likely they are to expand over time and spread to other parts of your pavement. Even the smallest crack has the potential to form into a spider or alligator crack and these are often deep-seated, which means there could be internal damages that you might not even know about right away. Cracks that are still in the beginning stages of formation are typically shallow and therefore easier to fix with asphalt crack sealant.
Reduces Formation of Alligator Cracks and Potholes
As mentioned, even the smallest cracks are the starting point for more intense and complex damages such as alligator cracks and potholes. If your property happens to get a lot of foot or vehicular traffic—particularly heavier vehicles like buses, trucks, or plows—then it’s especially important to fix cracks as soon as possible. Not only are alligator cracks and potholes expensive and more complicated to fix than regular cracks, but they also pose significant safety threats and can damage any vehicles that frequent your parking lot or driveway.
Prevents the Need for Asphalt Removal and Replacement
Asphalt removal and replacement is one of the most expensive repair methods you could use and it should only be reserved as an absolute last resort as it could render your property inoperable for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the extent of the damage. This is every property owner’s nightmare for a number of reasons. Businesses might need to be shut down for an indefinite period of time and homes might need to be vacated during construction due to safety risks.
Extends Your Pavement’s Lifespan
As a general rule of thumb, the more you put into your asphalt pavement, the more you’ll get out of it. If you take good care of it by keeping it clean and applying necessary repairs and sealant on a regular basis, then you shouldn’t experience any problems with it. Resealing your asphalt pavement every 2-3 years will guarantee that it’ll last for a minimum of 20 years or more. Of course, there are other factors to consider such as how much usage your property gets on average and the types of vehicles that usually pass through.
Creates a Uniform Coat over Pavement
Another essential advantage of regularly applying asphalt crack repairs is that they help keep your pavement clean, presentable, aesthetically pleasing, and free of imperfections such as dips or depressions. Your pavement should leave a positive first impression with anyone who uses your property, whether they’re personal guests or customers. This will make driving and walking on your property a lot safer.
This point has been mentioned countless times, but the relevance of it can’t be stressed enough. Early crack detection and repair is extremely cost-effective, especially given the expensive and complex nature of having to apply more extensive repairs. Aside from the fact that extensive repairs are complex and expensive, as the property owner, you have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of anyone who uses your property. If someone injures themselves on your property due to your negligence in keeping it safe and clean, then you could be subject to a lawsuit.
Asphalt Crack Repair Services in Toronto and the GTA
At Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc., we have over 25 years of experience installing and repairing commercial asphalt parking lots throughout Toronto and the GTA. We’re proud to be a family-owned and operated business in a thriving industry. From crack filling and sealing to laying down asphalt and line markings, we’ve done it all and provided top notch service with a smile for our clients. To learn more about our services or schedule a free consultation, please contact us!
Photo Credit: iStock.com/SteveCollender