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Asphalt is the preferred material for many driveways due to its durability, cost-effectiveness, and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. However, like any surface exposed to the elements, an asphalt driveway can develop cracks, holes and other imperfections over time. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the steps on how to repair an asphalt driveway for both small and large repairs.

Understanding How to Repair an Asphalt Driveway

Several factors can contribute to the need for an asphalt driveway repair. These include:

  • Natural Aging Process: The natural aging process of asphalt is an inevitable and gradual phenomenon that occurs over time due to various factors. One of the primary factors contributing to the aging of asphalt is oxidation, which is a chemical reaction between the asphaltic materials and oxygen in the atmosphere. This reaction leads to the deterioration of the asphalt’s properties and overall performance.
  • Weather-related Damage: Weather-related damage is a common issue that affects the quality and longevity of asphalt surfaces. These damages can occur due to various environmental factors, such as water intrusion, temperature fluctuations and freeze-thaw cycles. 
  • Environmental Factors: In addition to damage caused by weather, exposure to environmental factors like the sun’s UV rays can also lead to the decline of asphalt surfaces over time. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause asphalt to fade and lose flexibility, making it more vulnerable to cracks and deterioration.
  • Chemical Spills or Leaks: Exposure to chemicals such as oil, gasoline or deicing agents can weaken the asphalt binder. This can cause the surface to deteriorate and degrade over time. Regular cleaning and prompt removal of spills can help reduce the risk of chemical damage. However, if such damage is left unaddressed, it can accelerate the need for repairs.
  • Tree Roots: Nearby trees or shrubs with extensive root systems can threaten asphalt driveways. As roots grow and expand, they can exert pressure on the pavement, causing it to crack or heave. Additionally, tree roots can disrupt the underlying soil, leading to uneven settling and surface irregularities.
  • Poor Drainage: Water accumulation on a driveway surface due to inadequate drainage can lead to faster erosion and deterioration. It’s crucial to set up proper drainage systems like culverts or French drains to avoid this. These systems can help prevent water from pooling and causing damage to the asphalt surface.

Regardless of the cause, repairing an asphalt driveway is essential to maintain its appearance and prolong its lifespan. How do you know if you need a simple asphalt repair or if it’s time for a complete replacement? Below, we take a closer look at how to effectively repair both blacktop driveway and asphalt variants.

Small Repairs: How to Repair a Blacktop Driveway

When it comes to smaller imperfections, such as hairline cracks or small holes, the repair process is straightforward and can often be done by the homeowner. 

Here’s how to repair a blacktop driveway:

  • Clean the Area: Remove any debris, dirt or vegetation from the crack or hole to ensure a proper bond between the repair material and the existing asphalt. To thoroughly clean the area, use a broom, pressure washer, or air compressor.
  • Repair Cracks: To fix cracks in your asphalt driveway, use a crack-filling product that is made specifically for this purpose. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully. For small cracks, a pourable crack filler may be sufficient. However, you may need to use a rubberized or cold-pour crack sealer for larger cracks. It’s essential to make sure that the cracks are filled level with the surrounding surface so as not to create any trip hazards.
  • Repair Small Holes: Use a patching compound designed explicitly for asphalt surface repairs. These products typically contain a combination of asphalt and an aggregate material, such as sand or gravel. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix, apply, and cure the patch.
  • Seal the Driveway: Once the crack repairs or patching has dried, it’s advisable to seal the entire driveway to protect it from water intrusion and further damage. Use a squeegee, brush or roller to apply a high-quality driveway sealer according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Allow Proper Curing Time: Give the repaired areas ample time to dry and cure before driving or parking vehicles on the driveway. This will help ensure the repairs hold up to normal wear and tear.

Extensive Repairs: Asphalt Driveway Repair and Replacement

For larger driveway damages, such as numerous cracks, wide or deep potholes or significant deterioration and crumbling, it is best to consult with a professional contractor to determine the scope of the asphalt repair required. Plus, professionals are highly trained on how to fix an asphalt driveway and have the necessary tools to do the job right the first time.

A professional asphalt driveway repair typically involves the following steps:

  • Clean and Prepare the Area: The area will be swept and cleaned to remove debris or vegetation, and any existing cracks or holes will be filled with asphalt repair material. This step also includes ensuring proper drainage to prevent future water-related issues.
  • Apply a Tack Coat: A tack coat is an adhesive layer that helps bind the new asphalt repair material to the existing surface.
  • Apply the Asphalt Repair Material: The asphalt repair material, also known as hot mix asphalt, will be poured into the repair area and leveled using a rake, shovel, or asphalt lute.
  • Compact the Repair: After the material has been leveled, it is then densely compacted using a roller or plate compactor to ensure a smooth surface and proper bond with the existing asphalt.
  • Seal the Driveway: Once the repaired area has properly cured, the entire driveway should be sealed with a high-quality sealer to protect the repair and prolong the life of the entire surface.

Maintaining and Extending the Lifespan of Your Asphalt Driveway

Throughout this blog, we have thoroughly explored the process of how to repair a blacktop driveway, and it’s clear that asphalt driveway repair requires both time and skill to be executed correctly. DIY approaches often result in mediocre outcomes, leaving you with unnecessary expenses and potential long-term damage. Trust the professionals at REDLEE/SCS for your asphalt driveway repair needs to maximize your investment.

We will save you valuable time with our vast industry experience and a commitment to delivering the highest quality work. Further, we help you avoid potential pitfalls that can arise during the repair process. Contact us today.

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