Crack Cleaning Machines: Your Partner in Lasting Asphalt Maintenance

Uncover the power of crack cleaning machines and learn about their key features, tips, and whether to rent or own when extending your asphalt's lifespan!

Judson Burdon
Posted by Judson Burdon on February 29

Asphalt surfaces like parking lots and roads require vigilant maintenance to maximize lifespan and reduce costs.

While asphalt repairs are sometimes unavoidable, regular upkeep helps delay major projects and repairs. One crucial and often overlooked aspect?

Timely and effective crack cleaning and sealing.

This is where crack cleaning machines can make a real difference for the health of your asphalt infrastructure.

In this guide, we'll cover the ins and outs of crack cleaning machines. You'll learn their key benefits, important features, proper usage, and whether renting or owning is best for your needs. We'll also debunk common myths and answer frequently asked questions from asphalt maintenance professionals like you. Let's pave the way to a smoother, safer, and more cost-effective asphalt maintenance program.


What are Crack Cleaning Machines and Why Do You Need One?

Crack cleaning machines are powerful tools designed specifically for cleaning out cracks and joints in asphalt surfaces. They utilize water, heat, air pressure, or a combination to remove debris, weeds, old filler material and prepare the crack for new filler or sealant.

Proactive crack cleaning and sealing is crucial for extending the lifespan of any asphalt surface. When cracks are left unfilled, they allow water to seep in and cause further deterioration of the pavement through freeze-thaw cycles. More damage leads to larger repairs and eventually full asphalt replacement. Not ideal for your budget or sanity!

Crack cleaning machines allow you to clean cracks thoroughly prior to using the right sealant or filler. This ensures maximum adherence and prevention of water infiltration. Consistent crack maintenance also stops small cracks from expanding into major headaches. Ultimately, investing in the right cleaning equipment saves you money over time.

asphalt kingdom landshark asphalt crack cleaning machine

Crack Cleaning Machines remove debris from asphalt cracks

The Power of Proper Crack Cleaning

Crack cleaning machines are powerful partners for effective asphalt maintenance programs. Here's how they contribute:

Crack Repair Quality

Thorough crack cleaning allows sealants, fillers and other treatments to adhere optimally. When cracks are cleared of old material, weeds and debris, there is greater bonding between the repair products and crack edges. No contaminants means no weak points for water intrusion or issues down the road.

Preventing Further Deterioration

Keeping cracks sealed means water can't enter the asphalt substrate, especially during winter. This prevents formation of potholes, sinking, raveling and other deterioration caused by water damage. Consistent sealing maintains your asphalt's structural integrity.

Extending Asphalt Lifespan

With routine cleaning and sealing, you can get decades more life from your asphalt investment. Your parking lots, driveways and roads will look better and perform better longer, saving you money. It's a win-win for aesthetics and your wallet.

asphalt-cracks-before-after-opt

Before and After: Asphalt Crack Sealing

Choosing the Right Crack Cleaning Machine

With the right asphalt crack cleaner machine, you can optimize asphalt maintenance and surface preparation based on your specific needs. Here are key considerations when selecting equipment:

Crack Width Capabilities

Crack sizes dictate the best cleaning method. For high pressure water power, look for machines that can handle cracks from 1⁄4 inch to 2 inches wide. For heat lancing, needed for larger cracks, choose equipment with heating wands up to 3 inches wide.

Power Source

Gas-powered crack cleaners like the Billy Goat Grazor or RynoWorx Hedgehog allow for mobile use not dependent on electrical outlets. Electric crack cleaners offer quieter operation and less emissions. Look for ample power and pressure levels for your cleaning needs.

Brush Types

Steel wire brushes thoroughly loosen debris in cracks while nylon brushes provide gentler cleaning. Machines with adjustable brushes or multiple brush options add customization ability.

Adjustable Settings

Variable water pressure, heat and vacuum power gives you more control over the cleaning process. Look for units with settings that match your typical crack sizes and debris levels.

Portability

For cleaning large areas, opt for wheel-mounted machines with large water tanks and attached hoses and wands. Handheld units provide versatility for small jobs.

RynoWorx Hedgehog Crack Cleaner & Lawn EdgerRynoWorx Hedgehog Portable Crack Cleaner & Lawn Edger

Operating Crack Cleaning Machines Safely

While very useful, crack cleaning equipment requires safe handling to prevent injury or damage. Follow these guidelines for secure operation:

  • Wear protective goggles, gloves, closed-toe shoes, long sleeves and pants.
  • Allow units to fully cool before handling or transporting to avoid burns.
  • Keep the area clear of bystanders during operation.
  • Exercise caution when using pressurized water or heat lances near other workers.
  • Maintain stable footing when using handheld pressure washers.
  • Refuel crack cleaning machines only when fully cooled and powered down.
  • Frequently inspect electrical cords and lines for damage before use.

Is Owning or Renting Right for You?

For asphalt maintenance teams and contractors, deciding between buying or renting crack cleaning equipment depends on several factors:

Ownership

Pros

Cons

Renting

Lower upfront costs for occasional projects

Availability limitations on popular models

 

Access to machinery without storage

Higher per-use costs over time

 

Flexibility to adjust equipment for each job

Logistics of transporting equipment to sites

Owning

Equipment ready when you need it

Large upfront purchase investment

 

Cost savings long-term over renting

Storage space required

 

Ability to address issues immediately

Maintenance costs and responsibilities


For public works departments and contractors who consistently deal with crack maintenance, investing in equipment can be a savvy long-term economic decision.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Crack Cleaning Tools for Service Prep

DIY Crack-Filling Guide

 

 

Why Owning a Crack Cleaning Machine is a Smart Investment

For contractors with regular asphalt maintenance requirements, owning a crack cleaner provides major advantages:

On-Demand Access

Having your own equipment means you can clean and seal cracks exactly when needed. No scheduling delays or coordination with rental companies required. You dictate the timeline.

Cost Savings Over Time

While renting seems affordable project-by-project, the costs add up over years of jobs. For frequent use, purchasing equipment provides better value despite the initial investment.

Prompt Maintenance Ability

Spotting a new crack or problem area? Resolving it quickly is easy when the machine is already in your facility. No waiting days or weeks for ideal rental availability.

Better Fleet management

Owning the equipment means you know its full maintenance history. You control the quality of repairs and upkeep rather than relying on unknown rentals.

Asphalt Crack Cleaner Machine

Cleaning grass out of asphalt cracks

What Does the Future Hold for Crack Cleaners?

As technology advances, here are some ways crack cleaning machines may improve:

Automated Systems

Units equipped with sensors and programming could automatically adjust settings based on crack size and conditions for more precision cleaning.

Alternative Power Sources

Battery-electric operation via chargeable lithium batteries reduces direct emissions for more eco-friendly use. Solar power could also enable self-charging capacities.

Advanced Safety Features

Improvements like auto shut-off valves if nozzles tip or smart-grip handles can further protect operators from hazards.

GPS Integration

Onboard GPS could allow managers to monitor and track cleaning routes and completion progress remotely.

While the current Crack Jet II delivers powerful cleaning abilities, innovations on the horizon will make them even more effective and safe for professionals.

Key Takeaways

  • Crack cleaning is vital for maximizing asphalt lifespans and preventing costly repairs.
  • Crack cleaning machines like an asphalt crack cleaning heat lance provide professional-grade cleaning for the best crack filling results.
  • Matching the machine capabilities to your common crack sizes optimizes results.
  • For frequent maintenance needs, purchasing equipment provides better value than renting.
  • Proper use and safety precautions are crucial when operating crack cleaning equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How often should I use a crack cleaning machine to maintain my asphalt surfaces?

Ideally, crack cleaning should be done at least once a year, and more frequently for high traffic areas like parking lots and driveways. Checking for new cracks and deterioration every 6 months allows you to repair issues promptly before they expand.

Can a crack cleaning machine help prevent the formation of larger cracks in the future?

Yes, keeping cracks sealed with a crack cleaner's help prevents water intrusion into the asphalt. This stops freeze-thaw cycles that lead to widening cracks, potholes, and eventual pavement failure. Consistent sealing maintains the integrity of the asphalt to resist new cracks.

Are there environmentally friendly options for crack cleaning machines?

Some manufacturers offer electric and battery-powered crack cleaners that produce less emissions than gas-powered units. Also look for options with closed-loop water recycling to minimize wastewater. Eco-friendly brushes and biodegradable degreasing agents also help reduce environmental impact.

What other equipment or tools are typically used in conjunction with a crack cleaning machine?

Crack sealing and filling equipment like bulk melters, pour pots, and applicator wands are used after cleaning to fill cracks. Hand tools like putty knives and brooms prep areas and assist crews. Safety gear like goggles, gloves, masks and protective clothing are also essential.

Still have questions? Contact us or call our experts at 1-866-399-5562 for personalized advice!

 

Topics: Asphalt Maintenance, Crack Repair, Cleaning and Preparation, Asphalt Maintenance Business, Property Management

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