Asphalt surface preparation is a prerequisite to sealcoating and crack repair. Neglect proper surface prep and your asphalt driveway repair is set up to fail. But why is it important to clean the surface first before we apply crack filler or sealcoating?
The answer is quite simple.
That's because crack sealers don't bond properly to the sidewalls if dirt, debris, and vegetation get in the way. You'll only be wasting materials if you neglect this part of the crack repair process. And when post-repair problems pop up, you'll need to fix them later on. That can hike up the maintenance cost for you and your customer.
Must-Have Asphalt Surface Prep Tools and Equipment
Wire Street Broom
The first surface prep tool you must have in your arsenal is the wire street broom. Asphalt surface prep brooms feature wire bristles capable of removing dust, loose aggregates, and vegetation.
These brooms are perfect for homeowners who want to maintain small or mid-sized driveways or new contractors who might not have the budget to purchase higher-end cleaning equipment. Remember, though, that cleaning a large property using a wire street broom will take a lot of elbow grease.
But if you can afford to purchase a piece of equipment to make your job more efficient, then go ahead and use a walk-behind power broom.
Crack Cleaning Machine
If you want to boost efficiency at work, then we recommend using a gas-powered crack-cleaning machine. It has an eight-inch wire wheel that spins at high RPMs, removing dirt, debris, and weeds sitting in the cracks as you go along.
This machine is fantastic for contractors who service commercial properties and large driveways. This machine is also perfect for commercial property owners. After getting rid of weed and dust, make sure to clean the crack further with a billy goat blower.
Wire street brooms and crack-cleaning machines are fantastic tools for getting rid of dirt, but what if the crack has some stubborn weeds that you can't pull out easily? Then your best bet is to use a heat lance, a piece of equipment that burns stubborn weeds in those cracks. It also blows compressed air into the crack to get rid of burnt leaves and other debris.
Don't Overdo It!
It's easy to be overzealous when prepping a surface, but we advise against it as cleaning out a crack too deep can produce a deeper fissure. As the crack deepens, you'll be forced to add filler. This is unnecessary, wasteful, and costly.
Another surface prep no-no is pressure washing the cracks. Crack fill doesn't bond to wet surfaces, so you'll only be wasting material if you do this.
Did you clean that crack too deep? Well, don't worry because it is easy to rectify. To fix an overcleaned crack, simply fill it in with sand and apply crack fill about half an inch deep. It will create a watertight seal that protects the area from further damage.
But what if one of your crew members pressure washed the crack? Just grab a Tiger Torch, apply heat to the area, and wait for the water to evaporate. Next, use a gas-powered blower to get rid of debris and vegetation on the surface.
If you want to learn more about asphalt surface preparation and the tools and machines we've mentioned here, give us a call at 1-866-399-5562.