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Cleaning Asphalt

How long your asphalt blacktop lasts and how good it looks depends on starting off the job right. Cleaning asphalt thoroughly is key.

Judson Burdon
Posted by Judson Burdon on April 30

The most important things to do before you seal a driveway is to properly prep it for sealing. This will ensure that the sealcoat is able to bond properly with the surface.

1. Clearing Weeds and Remove Loose Asphalt from areas that are broken up

If you have a whipper-snipper/weed whacker you can get a lot of the grass off the edges to expose the whole asphalt surface. It is critically important to try and get all weeds including roots off and out of the driveway. Use a stiff broom to remove this dirt and debris off the driveway. If you have an electric or gas powered blower you can use that as well – you will find that you will save time with the Blower. You can rent blowers or buy a gas-powered blower online.

Remove loose material from the edges of small potholes and large cracks. Use a large screw driver, wire brush, water from a hose or the blower that you originally used above to clean the dust and debris off the surface.

Professionals can use a crack cleaning machine with a wire wheel that will penetrate an asphalt crack. The wire bristles of the crack cleaner will spin quickly and clean out any vegetation or debris from the cracks.

Other cleaning asphalt issues:

  1. If you have any oil or gas stains on the asphalt, these will also need to be cleaned. Use a degreaser cleaner to scrub out the stains.
  2. If you have white spots on your asphalt, it can be salt or minerals coming up from the asphalt. Often, this just takes time to clear up.
  3. Moss and mud – this will require scrubbing power. Professionals can use a rotary broom to clean driveways and parking lots. If you're a homeowner, you can try renting a machine to clean these items from the asphalt.

 

2. Filling the Cracks

Residential Driveway Owners:

  • For cracks that are ¼ inch to 1/2 wide we recommend that you use Cold Acrylic Crack filler.
  • For cracks that range from a 1/2 wide to 1 inch wide we recommend that the cracks be cleaned out and use coarse sand to fill in deep cracks to 1/2 deep and then apply your Cold Acrylic Crack filler.
  • Air temperatures must be greater than 60 degrees Fahrenheit to allow the repair material to cure.
  • Either push or pull the tip of the crackfill bottle along the crack, filling the crack right to the surface. Smooth-en the excess crack fill with a squeegee or soft broom. Keep the filler in the crack, not on the surface or on your hands.

Contractors or Commercial Parking Lot Owners:

  • For cracks up to 1¼ inch wide and 2 inches deep, use Hot Rubberized Crack filler with the 10 Gallon Crack filler Melter Applicator.
  • For cracks that range from a 1¼ inch wide and up we recommend that the cracks be cleaned out, heated with a tiger propane torch and then pack fresh hot asphalt into the crack while the crack is still hot. Use a vibrating plate or tamper to pack down the new asphalt.

 

3. Asphalt Pothole Patching

Remove the loose debris from the hole and add asphalt cold patch found in bags at Home Depot or local hardware stores. Compact the material as best as you can with a tamper, vibrating plate, even use the end of a heavy board. Add more material until the hole is slightly overfilled. Then place a piece of scrap plywood over the patch and drive you car back and forth across it to further compact it. You can also use a 6 by 6 or 4 by 4 piece of wood and just tamp the patch by hand or just use a vibrating plate which is the easiest method.

Note: If the cold patch sticks to your tamper use and old oiled up rag and it will keep the Asphalt off.

After all of this, you are now ready to seal the driveway.

Learn more: Enroll in the Asphalt Kingdom Maintenance Guide today!

 

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Topics: Cleaning and Preparation

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