The ideal time to chip seal is before a road starts to deteriorate. The cost in the long run will be less and the road will be in better condition.
If portions of the road have deteriorated too far to be saved by a single chip seal, a chip seal patch may be the most cost-effective way to preserve the asphalt pavement. The extra layer adds body and strength to the road, bridging over alligator type cracking, while remaining flexible. In most cases, chip seal patches perform just as well as hot mix asphalt (HMA) repairs, at a fraction of the cost. With proper application, patching with chip seal can bring the pavement rating up to an acceptable level, and this technique has been proven to last well into the next maintenance cycle.
Chip seal patches could be installed the same day as the chip seal, on a small scale, but the best results are achieved by allowing the patches to cure out overnight.
Applying an extra layer of chip seal for pavement repair should NOT be considered in the following circumstances:
- Extreme rutting
- Areas with serious sub-grade problems
- Areas where pre-leveling is needed
- Busy intersections
Repairing the deteriorated areas with chip seal instead of hot mix asphalt patches eliminates many of the problems of HMA repair, such as:
- Higher cost
- Longer traffic disruption
- Longer cure time; ideally, HMA should cure for several weeks, before chip seal.
- HMA requires a fog seal, before the chip seal.