Crafco manufactures a direct-fire unit that, unlike oil-jacketed kettles, has flames directly heating the material. With direct-fire units, contractors will have a basic kettle, torch and hole for placing materials.
Cracksealing Starts with a Clean Crack
In order to provide customers with the best end product it is essential to complete the proper prep work. With cracksealing, contractors must always clean the cracks. “Moisture is one of the biggest evils for cracks,” Cameron says. “Once we dry out the cracks the rubber will bond well. With the Crack Jet II or a heat lance you can go out there and efficiently dry the crack.”
Pfuelb agrees to the importance of proper crack prep. “A clean and dry crack is critical to the performance of the sealant. Dirt or moisture will compromise the bond of your sealant. If you are applying crack sealant to a crack that is dirty or wet it greatly increases the chance of the sealant failing,” Pfuelb says. “I’ve seen people just go out there with a hand broom and backpack blower, blowing the pavement clean and thinking that is adequate.”
To guarantee proper cleaning of the cracks, contractors can use compressed air to blow the crack clean and dry; a heat lance that uses compressed hot air to remove debris and clean cracks; or a crack router, which follows the existing crack, carving a niche or reservoir to contain the cracksealing material. Research has shown that using a router, such as Crafco’s Model 25 or Model 200, to prepare cracks for sealing results in repairs lasting 50% longer than cracks sealed without a router. However, routing takes additional time and is more costly to the end user, and Stepp warns that if the equipment isn’t used properly it can be detrimental to the pavement. Still another option is KM International’s Crack Jet II. “The Crack Jet II heats the crack, dries the crack and etches the walls of the crack so you get maximum rubber adhesion giving you a better quality repair,” Cameron says.
As for bidding, contractors have two available options to complete the job. One option is to measure by area. “I’m going to go on site, drive around, and look for a heavier cracked area and lighter cracked areas,” Walter says. “I’m going to find something on a heavier cracked area and measure off a 1,000-square-foot in that particular pad and do two or three other pads in the area. I’m going to pull all the cracks in that particular 100 x 100-foot square. I will add them all up, multiply by the space, and divide it by 5. One pound of material will fill 5 feet of crack and that will tell me how many pounds of material I will need.”
The second option is to measure each individual crack. “You specifically measure each crack, and you let the customer know the exact linear footage of the cracks to be filled,” Cameron says. “You need to know how deep and wide the cracks are, how much material you are consuming during the process, and know what your bottom line is for you to be profitable.”
Success Through Material Selection
Another area of cracksealing that will ensure a successful application is the quality of materials used. “Contractors will find a local producer of a good, quality product,” Cameron says. “They need to make sure the rubber they buy is for their temperate zone and of the right quality for the job they are doing. They also need to get a product that will withstand the type of traffic that is using it.”
Contractors must also be aware of the material need for their specific unit. “The direct-fire materials are designed to be used in a kettle or melter that has the flame directly on the kettle resulting in a higher temperature,” Pfuelb says. “Oiljacketed materials can’t withstand such a high temperature.”
Blotting materials are also important to cracksealing. These materials help avoid track marks from vehicles that can drive over the surface before the material is set. “Protection of the sealant until the pavement can be opened is critical because you will get tracking of the sealant or ticking, which is car tires grabbing on to the sealant and ripping it off of the pavement before the material is cold,” Pfuelb says.