A crack or hole in your asphalt driveway doesn't necessarily mean it's time for a new driveway. Often, you can patch the damage and continue to enjoy a durable drive for years to come. The following tips can help you complete the process properly.
Tip #1: Determine the Cause
There are many reasons why a crack or hole can appear in a driveway, but if you don't remedy the underlying cause, the problem may return. If the damage was caused by exterior stress, such as salt damage causing pitting or too much weight leading to a crack, a patch and avoidance of the same cause in the future is probably a sufficient fix.
Damage caused internally, such as from the driveway settling, may require multiple patches if the driveway isn't done settling. In this case, don't be surprised to see a crack in your patch after some time has passed.
Tip #2: Start With a Clean Sweep
Soil, debris, and weeds in a crack or hole prevent you from making a proper patch. Pull any weeds and then sweep out the debris. If you have a larger crack, say wider than your thumb and deeper than the asphalt base, you can pack it with clean pea gravel so it is about halfway filled to the top. This should be the only items left inside a crack when you proceed to patching.
Tip #3: Pick the Right Patch
Choose a patch that is made for repairing asphalt driveways to ensure it handles the stress of being driven upon. Patch materials are available either in a tube, which are suitable for small cracks and holes, or in a bucket, which are better suited for larger cracks and potholes. You can apply the tube type by simply squeezing it into the crack, much as you would caulk. Use a scraper to level it off. For larger cracks, trowel the asphalt patch over it and then tamp it into place with the end of a 4-by-4-inch board. Then, smooth it off with your scraper.
Tip #4: Seal It Up
A seal helps protect your asphalt by increasing it's resistance to weather and water damage. After patching, apply a weather seal to your asphalt. These liquid sealers can be applied with a pole-style paint roller and they dry quickly. The seal needs to be replaced when water stops beading up on your asphalt. The exact frequency depends on how heavily you use your drive and its weather exposure. Contact a business, such as Northern Asphalt LLC, for more information.