Most asphalt driveway repairs are do it yourself jobs that can be completed with little or no experience. If you are unsure of what to do check in with your local home improvement store for advice and suggestions. There are three types of basic repairs which the typical homeowner can do themselves.
If your asphalt is buckling or raising up during cold weather then these are signs of a more serious problem and you may need a professional to assist with this type of repair.
The three types of repairs we will be dealing with will be repairing cracks, filling depressions and patching potholes. After all repairs are done your final step will be to properly seal the surface, something that should be done after any repairs or every couple of years as preventative maintenance.
The first type of repair we will discuss will be filling cracks. Any cracks in your driveway should be taken care of as soon as possible, the longer they go unattended the greater the chances of the crack spreading or getting wider or longer. Cracks allow water to get underneath your slab which leads to further erosion, a situation you want to avoid at all costs. Cracks that are ½ inch or wider should be filled using asphalt cold patch which is sold in bags or cans.
Cracks that are smaller than this can be filled using crack filler which can be found in convenient caulking tubes at any home improvement store.
Remove any loose materials from the cracked area using a chisel, wire brush or similar tool. Next you want to thoroughly clean the area to be filled, using a broom or shop vacuum to remove any loose trash or particles. In order for a patch to bond properly all trash and debris must be removed. Next fill the crack until it is level with the current surface. Smooth out using a trowel or putty knife and allow to dry the time recommended by the manufacturers instructions.
The next type of repair we will discuss will be to fill a depression area. This is an area in your driveway where water from rain or when you use your garden hose, tends to form puddles instead of draining away. To fill a depressed area once again be sure to thoroughly clean the affected area. To help the new material bond properly a primer must be used. Apply what is known as emulsified liquid asphalt or “driveway coating” to the area to be filled. The depressed area will be filled with a compound known as asphalt cold patch filler. Use a trowel to spread out the material into the depression making it level with the surrounding surfaces. Next smooth the material out and then tamp it down. A tamp is tool used to compact or press down concrete or dirt. In this instance you may use the end of a 2×4 to tamp down your repair. Place a level long enough to touch your repaired surface and the existing surfaces to check that there are no high or low spots. Allow this repair to cure for 24 hours or more if recommended by the manufacturer.
The last type of asphalt repair we will discuss will be a chuckhole or more commonly known as a pothole. As with the other repairs clean out the area thoroughly and remove any loose materials. Ensure that the sides surrounding the area to be filled are firm or they will give way again. If the hole is very deep fill it to within 4 inches of the top with gravel. As with the previous repair, prime the area surrounding the repair for good bonding. The material used to fill a pothole is called asphalt cold patch repair. Follow the directions for mixing and fill the hole in 2 inch lifts. That is, fill with 2inches of material then tamp thoroughly, fill with 2 inches and tamp again until the hole is completely filled and level with the surrounding areas. Allow this repair 12-36 hours to cure and five additional days before sealing.
The final step in all of the mentioned repairs is to seal the entire driveway. Seal coating your driveway protects it from sun, moisture, chemical spills and everyday wear and tear. Asphalt sealer can be purchased at most home repair stores. Follow the easy to use directions so that after completing your asphalt repairs your driveway will have a professional fresh look and you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.