If you have an asphalt driveway, a little regular maintenance can save you an expensive resurfacing. That’s because cracks and holes let water seep under the surface where it does its dirty work.
The hotter the blacktop, the better the bond, so a hot summer afternoon is perfect. Pick up some crack sealer, cold-patch asphalt mix, a trowel, and a scrap piece of 4×4 lumber, chill a gallon or two of lemonade, and get down to work.
Small cracks (up to about 1/8″) are easy to fill. Liquid crack sealer comes in cans, but caulking tubes make application easier. Wash out the crack with a high pressure blast from your garden hose, and brush in a little sand. Then apply your sealer, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and smooth it with your trowel. If the crack’s wider, you can add a little sand to the sealer to make a paste. Press the paste into the crack with the trowel and tamp it down with your 4×4.
To patch holes, you’ll use cold patch, a compound which lets you do asphalt repair without heating. Clean out the hole, and if it’s really deep, fill the bottom with gravel, leaving about 3″ or 4″ for the patch. Use your trowel to apply an inch of cold patch, working it into cracks and crevices, and tamp it well with the 4×4. Then apply another 1″ layer, tamp again, and continue until you reach the level of the driveway. Leave a slight mound above the driveway surface, spread a little sand on top, and drive your car slowly over it a few times.
After your repairs, you can get a fresh, uniform look — and protect your driveway from future problems — by applying sealer.