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How Long Do I Have to Stay Off My Fresh Crack Seal?

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Last Updated on May 17, 2024

Crack sealing is a vital maintenance practice for asphalt pavement, essential for preventing water infiltration and extending the life of your pavement. As such, understanding how long you need to stay off your freshly sealed cracks is crucial for both the longevity of the repair and the convenience of property use.

Understanding Crack Sealing

Crack sealing involves sealing cracks in asphalt pavement with a specialized rubber sealant. This process prevents water from entering the pavement base, which can cause further damage such as potholes or alligator cracking. The sealant is usually a hot-applied material that needs time to cool before it can withstand traffic.

General Guidelines for Cure Time

Under typical conditions, the sealant will be set and ready for traffic relatively quickly. Generally, you should be able to drive on the freshly sealed surface by the time the crew leaves your property. This is because most modern sealants are designed to set rapidly, allowing for minimal disruption to your daily routine.

Factors Affecting Cure Time

The time it takes for crack sealant to cure can vary based on several factors:

Temperature

  • Mild to Moderate Temperatures (Below 100°F): In temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the sealant typically cools and sets quickly. You can usually drive on the surface within 30 minutes after application. This quick setting time is due to the sealant’s ability to harden as it cools, providing a durable and safe driving surface in a short period.
  • High Temperatures (Above 100°F): When temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the sealant takes longer to cool and harden. The high heat can keep the sealant in a more liquid state for a longer time. In such conditions, it’s advisable to wait a bit longer before driving on the freshly sealed cracks. This waiting period can range from a couple of hours to, in some extreme cases, overnight. This extended time allows the sealant to fully cure and adhere to the pavement, ensuring maximum effectiveness.

Humidity

  • Low Humidity: In dry conditions, the sealant tends to set faster as there is less moisture in the air to interfere with the cooling process.
  • High Humidity: High humidity can slow down the curing process, as the moisture in the air can keep the sealant tacky for a longer period. This is particularly relevant in regions with high humidity levels, where additional waiting time might be necessary.

Traffic

  • Light Traffic: If the area being sealed experiences light traffic, the sealant may have more time to set before vehicles drive over it, reducing the risk of premature wear.
  • Heavy Traffic: In areas with heavy traffic, it’s important to allow extra time for the sealant to cure to ensure it can withstand the pressure and friction from frequent vehicle passage.

Importance of Proper Set Time

Allowing the sealant to properly cool and cure is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Durability: Driving on the sealant before it has fully set can compromise its ability to bond properly with the pavement or pull it entirely off the pavement. This can lead to reduced effectiveness and a shorter lifespan for the repair, potentially leading to more frequent and costly maintenance.
  2. Aesthetics: Prematurely driving on the sealant can cause it to spread or smear, resulting in an uneven and unattractive surface. Properly set sealant maintains a clean, smooth appearance that enhances the overall look of your pavement.
  3. Safety: Ensuring the sealant is fully set before driving on it provides a safe driving surface. Unset sealant will adhere to vehicle tires, especially in high temperatures where it remains tacky for longer.

Tips for Ensuring Proper Set Time

  • Plan Ahead: Schedule crack sealing during times of lower traffic, such as weekends or evenings, to minimize disruption and allow for proper setting.
  • Consult the Experts: Follow the advice of your asphalt maintenance crew. They can provide specific guidance based on the conditions and the type of sealant used.
  • Monitor Conditions: Keep an eye on the weather and humidity levels, as these can affect set times. Be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly if conditions change.

Conclusion

While it might seem inconvenient to wait before driving on freshly sealed cracks, it’s a small price to pay for the benefits of a well-maintained pavement. In most cases, the wait time is minimal, but during extreme heat or high humidity, a little extra patience is needed. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your crack sealing is effective, durable, and safe.\

At Top Job Asphalt, we’re committed to helping you maintain your pavement in top condition. If you have any concerns or specific questions about your project, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re here to provide expert advice and quality service to meet all your asphalt maintenance needs.

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Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips
January 17, 2023.
Great company to work with. We contacted Top Job to repair a county road that we dug across for an irrigation line. They were very professional yet friendly. Our job was completed quickly. We recommend this company.
Sam Rowley
Sam Rowley
December 8, 2022.
I’m not sure how the service actually is, but some old guy in a Top Job Toyota was riding my butt today and flipped me off, or it was maybe an aggressive wave at the red light near the Logan library. Hope his day gets better. 12/8 at 230
Kim Rappleye
Kim Rappleye
December 7, 2022.
Very professional and personalized service. Highly recommended!
Mark Malmstrom
Mark Malmstrom
November 22, 2022.
They were easy to get a hold of and showed up when they were scheduled. Good communication and good work.
David Bunnell
David Bunnell
November 4, 2022.
I appreciated the pleasant attitude when talking w/the estimator as well as the scheduler. The work crew did a great job! I highly recommend Top Job Asphalt!
Steven Jacobsen
Steven Jacobsen
October 30, 2022.
Top job Asphalt did an amazing job on my project very professional, I would definitely use them again when I have the need.
Chris Salvesen
Chris Salvesen
October 28, 2022.
Did a great job on the 3" overlay for my very old and deteriorated half circle driveway. Looks brand new. All the transitions to concrete are near perfectly matched when I wasn't sure they could do it. It's almost weird now not feeling the bump driving out of the garage or over our bridge.
Matt Welch
Matt Welch
October 27, 2022.
Top Job paved our asphalt driveways and we couldn't be happier. The service, quality and price were the best I could find and I looked everywhere! Great job guys! I'll be calling back when I start my next project.
Todd Wardrop
Todd Wardrop
October 26, 2022.
I'm so impressed!!😀 Top Job has done such excellent work on my neighbor's driveway ... I'm so jealous. It's absolutely beautiful, and I can't believe how smooth it turned out. It's just perfect. What a great company!

What Our Customers Are Saying

Very impressed with the quality of their work and the organization of the company. The project estimator was spot on as to when the bid would be received and the work was professional  from start to finish. I appreciated the opportunity for a walkthrough inspection after the crack filling was completed as I had some very large cracks in the asphalt. I give this company a ten out of ten (which I really do) and highly recommend them.

Paul Pratt