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What is Crack Routing?

by | Oct 22, 2018

Take a look at your local asphalt parking lot and chances are you’ll find a variety of differently sized and shaped cracks that have formed due to weather, time, or other variables. But all of these cracks have one thing in common: they allow air and moisture to penetrate into the paving surface and cause increasing damage over time—ultimately resulting in paving surface failure.

Unfortunately for those of us here in Michigan, this process happens especially quickly during the fast-approaching winter months.

Crack sealing is an easy and low-cost solution to this problem. It involves using a liquid filler to pack and seal the crack, locking out air and moisture and limiting the spread of the damage. But before some cracks can be properly sealed, they first need to be routed. So, what is crack routing and when is it a useful option?

Crack routing involves the use of specialized equipment to grind a ¾-inch wide, ½-inch deep channel along the length of the crack.  This opens up the space and provides smooth, uniform walls and a level base—which improves sealing performance in a number of different ways:

1. Because the space is smooth and uniform, the crack sealant can flow and pool to the bottom, forming a thick, continuous mass from the bottom of the crack up to the top. If the crack is not routed, the sealer may not properly penetrate the bottom of the crack, leaving gaps or channels that can be infiltrated by water.

2. The routed surfaces and thicker reservoir promote a better bond between the pavement and the seal material. This strong bond and the thickness of the sealant allow the material to better flex and stretch along with the pavement surfaces, which often move and shift due to heat, cold, and pressure.

3. Routed cracks fill flush to the top of the surface, instead of mounding up above the crack-line. This makes the seal far less likely to be caught and ripped up by shovels or snow plows.

4. Routed cracks often last twice as long as un-routed cracks before developing further complications. This durability more than offsets the cost of the routing process.

Not all cracks are a good option for routing. Specifically, cracks cannot be routed if they have been filled previously, as the old sealant will gum up the cutting surfaces of the router. Routing is also not a good option for alligator cracking or cracks that have developed into potholes. These will require other solutions. 

For high-quality asphalt maintenance surfaces in West Michigan, contact Stripe A Lot and request your free quote. We’ve been in the business of helping West Michigan property owners with potholes, cracks, slopes, curbs, and drains since 1986, and have the tools and equipment you need to keep your driveway or parking lot looking great and working well. Call us at 1-800-BLACKTOP (616-772-2559) today!

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