To keep your asphalt driveway in tip-top condition you actually need to be proactive in maintaining it. Don’t let any small defects grow into bigger defects that will need more involved and expensive solutions to correct.
You need to be on the lookout for potential problems such as:
- Areas of depression where water ponds.
- Very thin asphalt cracks before they become even bigger cracks.
- Larger cracks
- Areas where the surface has lifted, possibly as a result of growing tree roots.
- Areas with fuel, oil or other types of stains.
Asphalt Driveway Repair – The Nike Option (Just Do It and Do It Now!)
This is the only sensible option. Do asphalt driveway repair as soon as you see any of the above potential problems. Or get a driveway paving contractor to do it for you!
- Areas Of Depression – these are normally fairly easy to see and are caused by problems with the underlying foundation.If you find them difficult to pick out simply flood the area with water. You will quickly see where any problem areas are. And you will be able to readily mark the outer edges of the depression in chalk so you can repair them.Patching them out is a fairly simple procedure which you can easily do yourself with any of the many cold patch products on the market.
- Very Thin Asphalt Cracks – there are many different types of cracks and they all signify different problems with your asphalt driveway. These we will cover in a future post. But for now you can consider thin cracks to be any crack less than 2mm in width.Before you consider cracks this size to be not worth worrying about please remember that cracks allow moisture to get into the foundation of your driveway. The constant ingress of moisture into your driveway is what will cause the most damage and eventually result in your asphalt driveway breaking up. So cracks need to be sealed, and quickly.All you really have to do here is sweep the cracks clean with a hardbroom and apply any one of the many driveway sealants available at your local hardware shop.
- Larger Cracks – anything wider than 2mm can be considered to be a big crack which will need a different repair method to that for a thin crack.If you were to try and fix these as you would a thin crack you will use a lot more asphalt crack sealant than you need to. Wider cracks are deeper cracks and there is no telling how much sealer you would use trying to fill the crack.So, the process here is a little more involved but still easy to do:
- Clean the crack out as best as possible with a hard broom, screwdriver or chisel type implement.
- If you have one available use a small compressor to blow all the loose material out of the crack.
- Fill the crack with a fine sand to just below the drive surface. Use your screwdriver or chisel to tamp the sand down as much as possible. If you don’t do this the sand may settle further after you have put the sealant on resulting in the crack opening up again.
- Then apply an asphalt sealant to the sand filled crack and allow to set.
If your cracks are really big then you could fill the crack to about 30mm below the surface with sand. Tamp it down as hard as you can and then put a cold patch mix on top of that and bring the level to just below the driveway surface. Then you can put a sealant over the top.
- Areas Where The Surface Has Lifted – this can be caused by growing tree roots or, perhaps, ant workings below your driveway.
- Tree Roots – are easy to spot. You have 3 options:
- Do nothing – not particularly desirable for all the above reasons but if there is a risk of damaging the tree by cutting the root out then you might want to keep it.
- Cut Tree Root Out – this is close to the best situation for your driveway. Dig down and chop the offending section of tree root out. As long as the tree is well established it should survive. The only problem with this is the root will grow again, but it should be several years before it becomes a problem again.
- Cut Tree Down – this is the perfect solution for your driveway but not necessarily the ideal solution for you!
- Ant Workings – not so easy to determine. You need to dig down and determine what the problem is. If it is ants you have to remove the queen, backfill the hole and patch with cold patch asphalt.
- Surface Stains – not only are these unsightly they are also potentially very damaging.If they have been caused by oil based products like oil, fuel and the like they will over time soften, disintegrate and become potholes. If the stains are fairly new and do not appear to have damaged your driveway yet you may be able to remove them with one of the many stain removers available today.You can tell if they have started to damage the driveway by rubbing your finger quite hard over the area or trying to dig at it with your car keys – you will see very quickly if there is a problem.The procedure for repair is pretty simple. Excavate the affected area of asphalt and patch with cold patch asphalt or a similar product. It’s always a good idea to put a coat of sealant over a cold patch just to make sure it is sealed and water can get in.
Asphalt Driveway Repair – The Other Option
The other option is to simply go about life as if your driveway will last forever in spite of the many defects you can actually see every time you go out there. And then only do something about when you have to park your car at the bottom of the driveway because your car can’t get past the big pothole in the middle of the drive.
The trouble is… now your asphalt driveway repair bill is going to be through the roof.