,Crack filling and crack sealing might sound similar and they’re often used interchangeably. But they’re actually different services. Which service would best resolve the issues you’re having with your driveway? Understanding the difference between crack filling and crack sealing enables you to make the best and most cost effective choice to correct the cracks in your driveway.

Crack fillers are composed of a polymer-altered asphalt mixture or a kind of liquid that is clay-filled. This asphalt solution is used to fill the tiny cracks and affected areas of your driveway. Cracks that are just beginning to appear need to be fixed as soon as possible. This is important whether it’s your residential driveway, commercial parking lot, or an industrial area. If these issues aren’t caught and treated early, it can cause a lot of damage and lead to much larger and more expensive repairs. How can you fix the unsightly and damaging cracks in your driveway?

Crack Sealing

Simply put, crack sealing is a technique where hot cement or sealer is applied to fill up working cracks. This is done with the intention of preventing water, sand, or other substances from entering the cracks. Transverse cracks spread in a vertical or horizontal direction and they’re bigger than 0.1 inches. Crack sealing is generally used to fill this type of crack. Crack sealing is also used in filling longitudinal cracks, block cracks, and reflection cracks. You also have the fatigue crack which is a bigger project. It usually requires reconstruction or repair using patches along with crack sealing. The material used in crack sealing is a kind of sand slurry or rubberized asphalt.

Prior to applying the crack sealing, the primary step is to clean out the cracks. The best time to have crack sealing done on your driveway is during fall or spring when temperatures are more moderate. As per the reports, the expected performance will be approximately three to eight years. Crack sealing is beneficial because it has the capacity to rubberize or seal cracks. It can also shift and adapt to the movement of the pavement. It is very useful for active or working cracks that tend to spread and grow quickly. The main purpose of crack sealants is to prevent gunk from entering the cracks, thus providing safety and protection and making your driveway more durable.

Crack Filling

Crack filling is done by using an asphalt or cement mixture to fill cracks. This is primarily used on inactive cracks. The purpose of crack filling is to prevent water or other substances from getting into the cracks and to strengthen the surrounding pavement or asphalt. Inactive cracks are the vertical or horizontal cracks that are minor (less than 0.1 inches) and their growth is much slower. Inactive cracks include diagonal, longitudinal, and alligator cracks. The difference between the crack filling and crack sealing is that crack filling focuses on inactive cracks that display less movement and growth. Crack sealing is used for active cracks that grow quickly and have the potential to cause structural damage.

Types of Asphalt or Concrete Cracks

There are many different types of cracks. Before choosing which technique is best to treat the cracks in your driveway, it’s best to understand the different types of cracks:

  • Longitudinal cracks – They are the cracks that are parallel to the centerline of your driveway. They usually occur later than the transverse cracks. The main reasons for such cracks are bad construction at the lane joining, solidification of asphalt, shrinking in the pavement, and changes in the temperature.

  • Transverse cracks – These cracks will expand vertically, connecting to the center of your driveway. These types of cracks appear early during thermal shifts.

  • Seam cracks– Such cracks can be seen at the joints or edges of the pavement, they are usually caused by cheap paving techniques.

  • Edge cracks– The edge crack formulates between the edge of your driveway and the curb.

  • Block cracks– These kinds of cracks progress in square-like chunks. They usually range in size between four and twelve feet. These kinds of cracks emerge at the end of your driveway. This is normally caused by a bad foundation or a lack of drainage.

  • Alligator cracks – It’s a series of cracks that connect to one another. These kinds of cracks are much wider and are close together (like the skin of an alligator). The cause is usually a break down in the asphalt and weight damage.

Crack Sealing or Crack Filling – What’s Best for YOUR Driveway?

Crack sealing: This is the best choice for active cracks that grow quickly and can eventually cause structural damage.

Crack filling: This is the best choice for inactive cracks with less deterioration.

Transverse cracks are usually the first type of cracks to occur, followed by other kinds of cracks. It’s important to take steps to protect your driveway from the damage that can be caused by cracks in your concrete or asphalt. Plus, addressing the damage quickly will keep your driveway looking good for much longer!

When you have to choose between crack filling and crack sealing, it’s best to consult with a professional. They can evaluate the cracks in your driveway, how quickly they’re growing, and whether they’re active or inactive. Then they’ll recommend the service that’s best for you.

Will sealcoating make your driveway last longer? Find out in our next post!

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