Many driveways are constructed with asphalt material. Over the winter months in cold climates, asphalt can develop cracks and holes from harsh temperatures and damaging chemicals that are used to prevent ice buildup. It is very important to repair any cracks or holes as soon as possible to reduce the possibility of them becoming larger and potentially dangerous to you and your vehicle. Repairing these asphalt problems is quite easy to do and, with the right tools and materials, should take just an afternoon to complete. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you begin your repair project. You will need a day of warm, dry weather to achieve optimal bond results from your repair compound.
Step 1 - Prep the Surface
Put on your protective eyewear, gloves, long pants and work boots to prevent any particles from damaging your sight or skin. Before you make any attempts to repair the asphalt, you will have to make sure that the surface is completely clean and free from any residue or debris. Dirty asphalt will not accept the repair material properly. Use your broom to sweep all of the dirt, dust and debris from the surface of your driveway.
Step 2 - Remove the Damage
Use a hammer to remove all of the damaged pieces from your driveway. You may have to force some of the pieces out of cracks and holes. This is necessary to allow the repair material to adhere and fill in the crevices. Use a wire brush to clean the cracks and holes even further. Be sure to remove any weeds or other plant life that may be growing through your driveway. Apply a weed killer product to prevent them from returning.
Step 3 - Clean the Surface
Attach an extension cord to your shop vacuum. This will enable you to move it freely over the driveway. Plug in the cord and turn on the vacuum. Suction all of the remaining debris off of the asphalt.
If you do not have access to a shop vacuum it is possible to use your garden hose to remove the remaining debris. Turn on the hose and adjust the nozzle to the strongest spray level possible. Use the force of the water to get the debris out of the crevice and off of the asphalt. Once you have removed all of the debris, allow enough time for the driveway to dry completely before you begin the repair process.
If you have areas on your driveway that are difficult to clean, you can use your liquid detergent to remove the residue. Squeeze four or five drops of liquid detergent into your bucket. Add warm water to and mix the solution together. Immerse your wire brush into the soapy water. Use the brush to scrub any excess dirt off your driveway. Rinse away the soap with your garden hose.
Step 4 - Fill the Cracks
Use your rubberized asphalt filler to mend any cracks and holes that are less and a half inch in size. Keep the filler off of any undamaged areas as it will cause staining on the asphalt. Attach the filler to your caulking gun. Squeeze the caulking gun to apply the filler to the cracks and holes. Use your putty knife to smooth out the filler. Allow the filler enough time to dry fully before you use your driveway.
Step 5 - Fill the Holes
For cracks and holes that are larger, you will need to fill them first. Use small, crushed gravel to fill the areas. Use your wood post to tamp the gravel material. Apply your blacktop asphalt repair mixture over the gravel. Once again, use your wood post to tamp the area. Tamping the gravel and the compound will ensure that any air bubbles are eliminated. If necessary, apply more repair compound until the crack or hole is completely filled and your driveway is level.
Step 6 - Wait for it to Dry
The surface repairs will take about 48 hours to dry completely, however, the asphalt below the surface will take several weeks to harden. Wait until the entire driveway is dry and hard before you attempt to apply a sealant to the asphalt.
Step 7 - Apply Sealant
To keep your driveway protected from any further damage, apply a sealant to the entire surface. Applying a sealant every three years will prevent further cracks and holes from developing and will keep it looking great.
For more information on driveway repair, visit our Driveways and Sidewalks page and be sure to check out the video below!