When new, an asphalt driveway looks smooth, black, and luxurious. Sadly, it won't stay looking that way forever. After a few years of use, it will probably begin developing small, winding cracks. It is at this stage of wear that you need to take action. You can hire an asphalt maintenance company to come fill the cracks and seal the driveway, but if you are handy and don't mind getting your hands dirty, the work is not too difficult to do yourself! Here are the steps to follow.
1. Clean up the cracks.
Start by cleaning up the edges of each crack. Use a chisel to remove any pieces of asphalt that have already partially loosened themselves. Then, use a shop vac on "blower" mode or a leaf blower to blow any dust and debris out of the crack. (Do this on a dry day so you can proceed with the filling and sealing immediately after you finish cleaning.)
2. Fill the cracks.
You can purchase bottles of crack filler at most home improvement and landscaping stores. They often come pre-mixed and pre-filled, and you just cut the top off of the bottle to squeeze the filler out like caulk. Purchase two bottles of filler for the average-sized driveway. Note that this filler will only work on small to moderate-sized cracks. If you have cracks wider than 1/2 inch or actual pot holes in your driveway, you'll need to have them patched by a professional.
Once you have the filler in hand, start filling a crack by squeezing the filler down its length. Then, use a tamper to smooth out the top of the filled crack. Repeat this process for each crack.
3. Let it dry, and repeat if needed.
Let the filled crack dry for at least 12 hours. Wait 24 hours if you have time to do so. If the filled crack is still level with the driveway after the drying time, then you do not have to do anything more to that crack. But if the filler is below the driveway level, you need to apply a second coat of filler—just like you did the first time.
4. Apply the sealcoat.
After your second set of filler has time to dry, it's time to apply the sealcoat. This is a coating that goes over the entire surface of the driveway. It helps keep the driveway from developing any new cracks in the coming years.
To apply sealcoat, you need to purchase a bucket of sealcoating and a driveway squeegee. Start at one end of your driveway, and pour a line of sealcoat across about 6 feet of the driveway's width. Use the squeegee to spread it out into a thin, even layer. Repeat this process next to the original application spot. Then, begin working your way down the driveway, working on a few square feet of driveway at a time.
Here are a few tips to ensure even, smooth squeegee-ing:
- Move the squeegee back and forth, but never side to side.
- Apply some pressure to the squeegee as you work, rather than just letting it rest on the driveway's surface.
- Consider buying two sizes of squeegees so you can use a smaller one along the edge for a precise application.
5. Let it dry.
If you let the sealcoat dry for a day, it should feel dry to the touch. If it's warm and sunny outside, it may dry even faster. However, you should avoid parking on the driveway for 2 days after applying the sealcoating so you do not get permanent tire marks in the driveway.
Go to websites about asphalt repair to learn more.