It's important to remember that you can cover more asphalt maintenance than you might believe. Crack filling, sealcoating, line striping, and other repairs can easily be completed by DIYers.
The challenge comes in trying to match the look of professional jobs. After all, if your work is lackluster, you may find yourself returning to the same problems over and over.
The following professional tips can help you execute your next asphalt maintenance project, from preparation and crack repair to sealcoating and line striping.
1. Surface Preparation: Make It a Two-Person Operation
The first step in asphalt maintenance—whether you’re sealcoating or crack filling—is to clean your surface and the problem areas. This should be more than just a typical sweep. It needs to be thorough.
Enlist the help of a colleague, friend, or family member to significantly reduce the time it takes and cover more ground.
One team member should vigorously wire-brush the cracks out while another follows with a gas blower. Once you finish the sweep, clear out any other loose debris.
Taking shortcuts cleaning your surface will harm the long-term life of your asphalt and demand additional work in the future.
2. Pothole & Crack Repair: The Weather Needs to Be Just Right
Have your favorite weather app handy, and check it often. Before you gather supplies to fill cracks or potholes, ensure the conditions allow for it.
Crack filling requires a temperature greater than 60 degrees Fahrenheit and several consecutive days without rain. Otherwise, the crack fill won’t cure properly, a crucial step that will prolong the life of the asphalt and prevent the damage from spreading.
Once you establish your window of time, as aforementioned, clean out the cracks thoroughly. Uproot any weeds, or spray vinegar to kill them. It’s important to clean all areas of the damage, including the sides and edges. If not, the sealer will peel off the crack like a Band-Aid.
Finally, apply the appropriate filler:
- Cracks a half-inch or less in diameter: cold patch
- Cracks a half-inch to 2 inches in diameter: rubberized hot pour crack filler
- Cracks greater than 2 inches in diameter: treated like a pothole and need a patch
3. Sealcoating: Apply Two Layers
You wouldn’t apply one coat of paint to your living room walls and call it a day. The same goes for your asphalt.
One thick layer of sealer won’t cure properly, which presents both an eyesore and costs you money in the long term: A messy job requires a good one later on.
Before you sealcoat, remember to clean your surface thoroughly, with a focus on oil spots and stains. These will prevent the sealer from adhering. Also make sure you’re wearing proper attire: Long-sleeves, pants, impervious boots, and gloves will keep sealer off your skin.
From there, it’s like painting. Apply two thin coats, letting the first one dry before you start the second. That way you can spot any problem areas.
4. Line Striping: Invest in a Machine
You’ll notice that professionals don’t line stripe by hand. Neither should you. Line striping is about attention to detail, and if you’re relying on ropes or edgers to paint your lines, you’ll cost yourself time, energy, and, as a result, money.
An investment in a versatile machine like the PowrLiner 850, both lightweight and effective, will help maximize your production and ensure you’re painting crisp, clean lines.
When it comes time to line stripe, scrub the old lines vigorously with a brush and clean away the paint chips. Otherwise, the new layer of paint won’t set properly.
5. Your Secret Weapon: Mini Infrared Asphalt Heater
Small problems can become big ones if they're left untreated.
The Mini Infrared Asphalt Heater is an all-in-one maintenance machine. It reheats the asphalt to make it malleable again. Alligator cracking, small potholes, and damage around drainage areas become quick fixes.
Add the infrared heater to your garage, and you'll be making asphalt repairs like a pro.
Small potholes (baseball sized or less?) Asphalt Seams? Drainage repairs? Alligator cracking? You don't need to replace the asphalt - you can reheat and rejuvenate it! Oil spots eating away at your asphalt surface? Burn them off with the infrared heater and you'll preserve pavement and improve the look, too!