When it comes to your driveway, there’s no greater enemy than mother nature. Water can seep into the asphalt, freezes, expands, and create cracks. Eventually, you have a situation where your driveway ends up looking like a broken-down city street.
Thankfully, asphalt crack fillers make it easy to repair your driveway. From there, you can either apply a topcoat or leave it as is. Either way, your driveway will be looking much better than it did before. Today, we’ll cover what you need to know about the best asphalt crack filler products and how you can use them to save your driveway. For more on repair and maintenance for your home check out our review of the best roof cleaners to add years of life to your roof.
While there’s plenty of different options in the market, not every product makes the cut. This list includes the five best asphalt crack filler products available, and they’ll help you make quick work of your repairs.
Latex-Ite PLI-STIX Rubberized Crack Filler
When it comes to asphalt repair, PLI-STIX from Dalton Industries has long been one of the most well-regarded products in the world.
PLI-STIX is easy to work with, and even though it’s a multi-step process, it does a great job of preserving and protecting your driveway.
This product contains no VOCs, it burns in and cures quickly, and it’s also a mess-free process thanks to the burn-away plastic sheath that covers the actual product, which I’d imagine is sticky and impossible to get off of your hands.
If you have tons of cracks to treat, the product is also available in a bucket which contains 250 feet of rope. For whatever reason, the larger size container for this product is called CRACK-STIX instead of PLI-STIX. Regardless, it’s the same product from the same manufacturer.
Once applied, PLI-STIX moves with your driveway to prevent new stress cracks from appearing, and since it achieves a watertight seal, it eliminates excess water from getting underneath your driveway and into the foundation.
Once your area is prepped, just cut a length of PLI-STIX the size of the crack, press the product into the crack using a screwdriver, and burn it into the driveway using a propane torch. It’s self-leveling, so your finished results should look uniform with the rest of your driveway. The product is cured in only 20 minutes.
- Same stuff the pros use
- No-mess installation
- Re-melts in extremely hot climates
Red Devil Asphalt Repair and Filler
If you’re looking for the most economic approach to repairing your driveway, Red Devil’s Blacktop Repair may be your best bet.
This product comes in a familiar caulk tube that’s compatible with any caulking gun. Applying the product couldn’t be simpler: Just prep the cracks, place the tip of the caulk tube into the crack and pull the trigger.
It’s flexible, so it’s able to move with your driveway while also providing a watertight seal which helps prevent further damage and cracking.
Once applied, it provides excellent adhesion, and it’s easy to clean up with water. It’s made from acrylic, so unlike some sealants which can become hot in the sun and transfer to the bottoms of shoes, that isn’t a concern with this product.
Also, it can be used on below grade driveways, which is helpful since there are a few otherwise useful products that aren’t compatible with driveways that are below grade.
While the product is flexible, it doesn’t appear to be flexible enough. If you live in an area that experiences wide temperature fluctuations, there’s a change that the product itself can crack inside of the crack you’re using it to fill.
- Easy to apply
- One step process
- More brittle than some other products
Henry Elastomeric Asphalt Crack Filler
With a name as cool as “elastomeric,” you have to figure that this stuff is pretty scientifically advanced, and it is! This product approaches asphalt repair a bit differently, as it’s a liquid polymer instead of a solid.
Elastomeric Crack Filler is sold in one-gallon bottles, so it’s perfect for filling an entire driveway worth of cracks. The top of the bottle has a narrow nozzle that you stick into the crack to fill it with the liquid polymer inside.
Inside the bottle is a blend of rubber polymers, asphalt, and an adhesive to ensure a tight seal inside the crack. The ingredients are combined at high pressure and temperature to create an advanced solution to crack repair.
The result is a product with excellent adhesion and flexibility, which helps to prevent water intrusion as well as further cracking in the driveway.
Unfortunately, this product is only recommended for cracks up to ½” thick. So, while it does work exceptionally well, it’s not the best product to reach for if you’re dealing with wider, deeper cracks.
- Easy to use
- Provides an excellent seal
- Doesn’t work on wider cracks
Bluestar Asphalt Crack Filler
If you need a product for small scale cracks and spot treatments, Bluestar Asphalt Crack Filler may be the ideal option for you.
This product is available in a 14-ounce squeeze bottle, and using it is as simple as cutting the applicator tip, placing it inside the crack, and squeezing the bottle.
It is also flexible, so it’s able to move with your driveway as it expands and contracts, and it provides a watertight seal to prevent further damage.
Unlike other products which can only tackle cracks up to ¾” or less, this product can handle cracks up to an inch wide. However, it could get cost prohibitive for larger cracks, since it’s only available in a relatively small size.
Bluestar can be applied on any driveway provided the ambient temperature is 50°F or above, and there’s no rain in the forecast. If possible, keep the product in a warm place before use. This stuff is thick, and it can be virtually impossible to squeeze it out of the bottle if it’s cold.
- Fills cracks up to 1”
- Easy to use
- Provides a watertight seal
Goldstar #315 Cold Pour Crack Filler
If your driveway is littered with cracks, filling them can be extremely time-consuming. Thankfully, Goldstar provides a solution which is economical from the perspective of both money and time.
The product is sold in five-gallon buckets, and it’s designed to be used with a pour pot. Of course, if you don’t have a pour pot available, you could transfer it to a smaller container, preferably one that has a nozzle or tip to make application easier.
Once it’s applied, use a rubber squeegee to smooth out the surface and remove any excess. After it’s cured, it will provide a watertight seal that can help prevent further cracking and costly repairs.
Each bucket treats well over 1,000 linear feet at ¼” thick, which makes it one of the most economical options on the market for repairing your asphalt.
- Provides a watertight seal
- Can get messy if you aren’t careful
Before you decide on the best product for your needs, let’s take a closer look at everything you’ll need to know about asphalt cracks and how to fix them.
There are several contributors to cracking asphalt. The largest of which is winter weather, but there are other factors, such as poor installation, tree root systems, and damage from traffic or tools.
The most common cause of cracking is winter weather. During the colder season, whenever it rains or snows, your asphalt driveway absorbs it. If that precipitation can freeze, it expands, which causes the asphalt to crack, since there’s no other way to account for the expansion of the asphalt.
The foundation beneath your asphalt can also play a role, especially if your asphalt contractor cut corners by not packing down the stone substrate enough before laying the asphalt, or worse, if they used an inferior substrate, like dirt or sand.
If you have lots of trees on your property, it’s also possible for their root systems to begin growing underneath your driveway, which pushes up on the asphalt above. Since the asphalt is brittle, it can’t account for the movement below, so it cracks.
Driveways with heavy car traffic are also subject to premature wear and cracking, although this is a far less likely cause than the effects of weather or poor installation.
Finally, damage caused by tools can also play a role. If you dig into the asphalt with a snow shovel, your snow blower, or any other potentially damaging tool, it’s common for the small chip or crack you’ve created to expand over time.
Not only are asphalt cracks and pits unsightly, but they can also undermine your project if you plan on applying a top seal.
A top seal is a thin layer of new asphalt that can restore the beauty to your driveway, without having to replace the entire driveway, which can cost several thousand dollars, depending on the size of your driveway.
Just as a solid foundation was needed when you initially laid down your driveway, a solid foundation is also necessary when top sealing it. You may think that the nice, mostly smooth asphalt surface you have is perfectly fine to have a top seal applied, but the truth is that isn’t the case.
Unless you fill any pits and cracks in the driveway before sealing it, you’ll end up the same predicament you’re currently in, with cracks that develop along the same lines that they appeared before.
By filling the cracks and pits ahead of time, you’ll achieve a uniform surface that should perform well once a top seal is applied.
Even if you have no plans of top sealing the driveway, filling asphalt cracks is critical to preventing further damage.
Once a crack opens, it’s even easier for water to penetrate below the surface. Then, it can wreak havoc on the rest of your driveway. Before you know it, you’ll be dealing with many more cracks than you initially had in the first place.
Depending on the product you choose, you may not need any additional tools at all to complete the repair. Some products offer a one-step process to filling cracks, while others require a bit of extra work.
For example, if you’re using a melt-in asphalt crack filler, which is the industry standard, and the same type of product that your state’s DOT uses to fill cracks in roadways, you’ll need some simple tools to get the job done right. Chances are, you already own them.
For one, you’ll need a propane torch. It can be helpful to have an extension hose for the torch to eliminate potential flameouts when you turn the torch on its side. You’ll also need a regular screwdriver or a 5-in-1 paint tool, and some compressed air.
If your driveway also has hairline cracks that would be difficult or impossible to fill, an angle grinder is also needed to widen the cracks far enough to make a solid repair.
When it comes to asphalt repair, your prep process is what will make the difference between a quality, lasting repair, and a mediocre job that won’t save your driveway from further cracking.
Before you apply an asphalt crack filler, you’ll need to make sure that each crack is wide enough to accept the filler, and that each crack is as clean as possible, with any dirt, tiny pebbles, and debris removed from the crack.
To prep, each crack, use a regular screwdriver or a 5-in-1 paint tool to remove any loose asphalt, rocks, and debris from the crack. Then, use an air compressor, or a can of compressed air to blow out any small particles remaining in the crack.
Once that’s complete, you’ll have a clean work surface that’s able to easily bond with the crack filler, resulting in a strong and lasting repair.
While using a product like epoxy or caulk can help minimize further damage to the surface of your driveway, a product that’s specially made to treat asphalt cracks is a much better option.
Not only will a product made for asphalt perform better at protecting your driveway and preventing the crack from getting worse, but they tend to also look much better from a cosmetic perspective than other fixes do.
Not at all. However, if you have the budget to make it happen, it’s always a great idea. Sealing the cracks in your driveway will help to improve the overall look, and also slow down the cracking process. However, top coating the driveway will provide an additional layer of protection, while also providing a brand-new look.
While burn-in products are thought of as the industry standard, there’s plenty of products that can get the job done that don’t require you to break out the blowtorch, such as Red Devil Asphalt Repair and Henry Elastomeric Crack Filler. That said, the top products on the market with the best reputation are often of the burn-in variety.
Crack sealing is the act of adding sealant to cracks in the asphalt to prevent water from intruding into the crack, causing further damage. In contrast, crack filling is the act of adding a filler to the cracks to prevent water from intruding into the crack, while also reinforcing the surrounding pavement to prevent further damage from occurring.
Crack sealants and fillers are different sides of the same coin, essentially. But, depending on the type of cracks in your driveway, one method may be a better fit than the other. If you’re unsure, your best bet may be to contact an asphalt contractor to evaluate what you’re dealing with.
If you’re dealing with cracks in your asphalt driveway, sealing them is the best way to prevent further costly damage and unsightly cracks. While each of the products we profiled today is a viable option for attacking the problem of your cracked driveway, one product in particular stands above the rest as our choice for the best asphalt crack filler.
Latex-Ite PLI-STIX is our top pick. It’s easy to use, it’s the same product that transportation agencies and professionals rely on to maintain roadways and parking lots, and it’s affordable. While other products perform similarly well, we haven’t found a good enough reason to move away from PLI-STIX, the industry standard.
If you’re looking for an option that doesn’t require a blowtorch for application, we’d recommend taking a closer look at the Elastomeric Crack Filler from Henry. Which will you choose? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.