If your asphalt driveway is showing indications of cracks, chips, holes or other damage due to traffic and weathering, it's important to address it. If you don't address it in a timely manner, you risk having the cracks and damage spread and threaten the integrity of the entire driveway. The sooner you repair these things, the less damage it will do. Here are some tips to help you repair the pavement easily.
Clear Away Dirt
Before you can do any repairs, you need to clean the area. Sweeping is a good place to start. Use a stiff-bristled push broom to do this, because it pushes everything away from the driveway. You may even need to use a damp cloth to wipe damaged areas and eliminate other loose asphalt particles.
If it's summer and the temperatures are warm enough, you can even rinse the driveway surface with a pressure washer or high-pressure garden hose. It's best to do only in the summer, though, so that the pavement dries completely before you do any repairs. Wait at least a day for things to dry out, because water left in the cracks cound eventually freeze and cause heaves in the pavement otherwise.
Eliminate the Weeds
When asphalt cracks, it opens up space for weeds to grow. You might have found several spots on the driveway where there are weeds growing between the cracks. You'll have to pull them out, but you need to be sure you get the roots so that they don't come back. Grasp low on the stem, near the ground, and pull straight up. If you're dealing with large pot holes, you'll probably want to use a hoe or a hand tool to dig them out.
Fixing Small Problems
When you're dealing with small potholes, cracks and similar damage, the easiest way to fix it is with a cold-mix asphalt material. Before you fill the holes, though, check how deep they are. If the hole is so deep that you can see gravel beneath, you'll want to fill that hole with dirt or gravel material until it is level with the base of the surrounding asphalt.
Before you apply the patch material, warm the asphalt around the edges of the hole or crack with a torch. This will make it easier for the new patch mix to adhere to the existing asphalt. Fill the space with the cold-mix asphalt patch. Pour enough patch material into the space until it is mounded about an inch or so all the way around the opening. Spread the asphalt mix evenly across the top with the back of a shovel, then pack it down with a tamper.
Don't skip this compacting step – it's essential to make the asphalt repair last. Compact it enough so that the new patch material is level with the existing asphalt. If you add too much asphalt and you end up with a bit of a bump over the damaged area, scrape the excess away with a shovel to keep it level. Then, treat the whole surface with an asphalt sealant. Repeat the sealant application every year or so to keep the driveway protected.
Dealing With Bigger Issues
If the driveway is collapsing, crumbling or has other serious structural issues, you'll want to reach out to a local asphalt paving company through a site like http://www.lakeridgepaving.com. The professionals with the asphalt company can help you remove the damaged asphalt, repair the structural integrity by building a new foundation, and then apply a whole new surface of asphalt to correct the problem.
With the right care, attention and repair efforts, you can keep your driveway in great condition. If you have any questions about any damage that you see, calling a paving company is a good place to start.