Cracking Up: Part Two: The Difference Between Crack Filling And Crack Sealing

When it comes to identifying the different types of cracking in your asphalt, it takes a pro!

And when you have done, you have to then decide whether it should be filled or sealed.

A lot of people don’t even realize that these are different procedures. For that reason, we would always advise consulting an asphalt paving contractor in California before deciding on the right course of action.


TYPE OF CRACK: Non working crack; horizontal and vertical movement under 0.1 inch.

COST: Less expensive.

CLIMATE: Better for mild climates.

DURABILITY: Temporary fix, estimated to last one or two seasons.

MATERIALS: Non rubberized; asphalt emulsion, liquid asphalt, crumb rubber etc.

Crack filling refers to the process of treating what is known as a non-working crack. This means one with movements less than 0.1 inch.

These may be diagonal cracks or block cracks. These are cracks that do not move a lot.

The materials chosen for crack filling is not the same as the crack sealing.

Because of the lower movement of the cracks, it is less essential for the material used to fill it to be as flexible.

Therefore, rubberized asphalt is not needed. The product used to fill a crack may be asphalt emulsion, for example.

The decision to fill a crack or seal it may be determined by the type or size of the crack. But in some cases, a parking lot manager may chose either method and it falls to what that person prefers at the time.

Although crack filling is seen as a more temporary fix, it may suit some better for various reasons.

Crack filling is seen as less expensive, but because of the materials used, it is not always suitable to climates which see a lot of change over the year. It should be fine for the milder climes of California.


TYPE OF CRACK: Working cracks; cracks larger than 0.1 inch in length.

COST: The outlay may be more initially than crack filling is.

CLIMATE: Can be used in more extreme temperatures.

DURABILITY: Can last up to eight years or longer.

MATERIALS: Rubberized asphalt, asphalt rubber, self leveling silicone.

Whereas crack filling is regarded as the cheaper, more temporary fix for smaller, less mobile cracks, crack sealing is used for a crack larger than 0.1 inch.

Because it is used on what is known as working cracks, it utilizes a different material for the sealing. These may be transverse cracks and the material is rubberized in nature, such as rubberized asphalt or asphalt rubber. It is a hot pour substance and the process is more expensive than the crack filling process.

As it is rubberized, it is more durable and will stretch more, as the crack expands and shrinks. It is chosen for asphalt paving which needs to be able to withstand water from getting into the pavement.

It may be safely used in areas where the temperatures change dramatically and is regarded as more of a permanent solution to your cracking problem than the filling is.


Generally, for a longer term solution, we would advise customers to opt for the rubberized asphalt crack sealing. This is likely to last longer than eight years and will provide a better protection in the long run.

However, says that there may be some cracks which can be quite adequately rectified by the use of crack filler.

Ultimately, the choice may be down to the type of crack you have or where you live.

Call today for your professional quote from California’s premier asphalt paving company!

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About the Author: Arnold Murray