Fixing cracks is a routine part of asphalt maintenance. Minor cracks can be filled to avoid water, oils, and chemicals penetrating the surface and damaging the base. But as cracks grow in size, you also need to seal them for added protection.
When it comes to crack sealing, you have two common materials to choose from: hot pour and cold pour sealants.
The choice of sealant will depend on the type of cracks being fixed. In today’s blog, we discuss the differences between hot pour and cold pour crack sealing.
The most obvious difference between the two types of sealers is temperature. Hot pour sealants are heated to high temperatures before application. Asphalt contractors use double jacketed heaters to warm up the sealant using heat transfer to avoid inflaming the container. Ideally, the sealant should be heated between 3500F and 3750F.
Cold pour sealants, as the name implies, don’t require heating. They are applied at ambient temperatures. Emulsified asphalt is the most common type of cold sealant, comprising a diffusion of asphalt particles and water that sets due to evaporation.
Cold pour sealants are ideally applied when the air temperature is 400F and rising. Barrel pumps or pressurizing systems are used to pour these sealants over the cracks.
Hot pour sealants have high pliability once they dry, and this allows them to expand and contract during a freeze-thaw cycle. The flexibility keeps the cracks from expanding in the winter months. Conversely, cold pour sealants dry to a hard solid, which creates a lack of flexibility.
Moving on, hot-pour sealants have minimal shrinkage because the sealants bond tightly to the pavement.
On the other hand, cold pour sealants don’t bond as tightly to the asphalt they are applied to. As a result, even a little shrinkage may cause plugs installed to prevent potholes to disconnect from the asphalt.
Cold pour sealants are the safer of the two options as they don’t require heating. But hot pour sealants have to be handled carefully to avoid heating accidents.
Hot pour sealants are used by most asphalt paving companies as well as the majority of municipalities for long-term results. On the other hand, cold pour sealants are usually used on residential pavement surfaces.
That said, asphalt contractors can use cold sealants on commercial properties as temporary solutions and for emergency repairs. But lasting solutions are only achieved with hot pour sealants.
These are the major differences between hot and cold pours for crack sealing. As a property manager, you shouldn’t ignore even small cracks on your pavement and reach out to your asphalt contractor to inspect the nature of the damage and choose the right material to seal the openings.