Don’t Drive Yourself Crazy - Repair Your Asphalt Driveway the Right Way
An asphalt driveway has a number of important benefits over the gravel or dirt variety, including better durability and longer life. Sealing the driveway can make it more useful and more durable, but it is important to quickly fill in any holes or cracks that may occur. Keeping the asphalt driveway clean and free of oil spills and other contamination is important to prolonging its useful life as well.
Keep it Clean
Keeping the driveway clean is a big part of prolonging its life as well as its attractiveness. It is important to clean up any oil stains or other spills as quickly as possible, before those chemicals can seep into the driveway and damage it. In order to clean up a dirty asphalt driveway, take the following steps:
1. Use a lawn edging tool, a spade or an ice chipper to scraper any weeds, grass or debris out of cracks in the driveway and away from the edges of the asphalt.
2. Use a strong blast of water from a hose, or a strong blast of air from an air compressor, to remove loose asphalt from cracks or damaged areas of the driveway.
3. Use a broom to brush off any dislodged debris or loose asphalt.
4. Use a diluted driveway cleaner to scrub the driveway and remove any oil and dirt. Repeat the scrubbing as needed until all stains have been removed. If there are excessive oil stains, use an oil spot primer on any stains that cannot be scrubbed away.
5. Hose down the driveway thoroughly, using as much water pressure as possible. When hosing down the driveway it is best to start at the top of the driveway and rinse down and toward the sides.
6. Use a quality vacuum cleaner designed for shop use to remove any loose debris or asphalt from the cracks. Keep in mind that the driveway will need to be very dry and very clean before any filler is applied.
7. Allow the driveway to dry completely before making any needed repairs.
Make the Needed Repairs
Many cracks in asphalt driveways can be easily and cheaply repaired. For small cracks (1/8 to 1/2 inch) simply use a rubberized asphalt emulsion type crack filler. This crack filler can be easily applied using a caulking gun. If a caulking gun is not available it can be poured, then smoothed using a putty knife. It is important to avoid getting the filler on the surface. It should only be used to fill in cracks.
Larger cracks or potholes can be used by shoveling in a prepackaged cold patch blacktop, then leveling the repaired area with an iron rake. The material can be compacted using a tamping tool, or a homemade tamper consisting of a block of wood nailed to a 4-by-4. Keep adding material to the hole or crack until it is slightly overfilled, then cover the newly filled hole with scrap wood and drive over it to compact it down.
Keep it Sealed
To keep your asphalt driveway looking its best, it is important to fill and seal it. The steps to fill and seal the driveway are as follows:
1. Begin by misting the driveway lightly with water, then pour a ribbon of filler or an acrylic driveway sealer approximately one foot wide across the entire driveway. The strip should be spread to a width of three to four feet, using a brush or a squeegee applicator tool.
2. After the application, all excess sealer should be carefully removed, using a brush or squeegee tool. When using the brush or squeegee, pull toward you, working your way carefully down the driveway.