How to Do Driveway Repair: Cracks & Sealants

Driveway repair is a very common issue with most homeowners or property owners. In many instances your driveway, or the asphalt entry to your building, is in the front of the property. It is identified with the entrance and should be maintained to ensure the proper entry presentation. Driveway repair and patching is performed by a variety of maintenance companies, site work contractors, as well as landscape contractors. However the actual performance of these repairs is normally not difficult, and can be performed by the average homeowner.

What are some of the most obvious issues as well as the methods to correct these issues?

  • Cracks and crevices. A typical driveway or asphalted surface will develop cracks and deeper crevices, in the surface of the asphalt, especially if maintenance has been neglected. As with all types of repairs that involve applying filler in a crack or crevice, cleanliness is of utmost importance. It is essential to clean the crack or crevice thoroughly to allow the filler to adhere to the surfaces of the crack that is being filled.

In many instances, it is a good idea to actually wash the driveway with a hose and broom. In this manner all of the existing dirt, sand and pebbles are washed off of the drive and out of the cracks and crevices. Allow the driveway to properly dry, and then, if you have the ability, use a leaf blower to blow out any remaining water or debris from the cracks and crevices in the driveway.

Once the driveway is clean, and I stress, that this is a very important part of properly maintaining the driveway, is to perform any repair or patch on a clean driveway. The application of filler or a sealer will not properly adhere to the surface of the asphalt unless the surface is clean.

  • Once the driveway is clean and all of the sand and dirt has been removed from the cracks and the crevices, it is time to take a wire brush and scrub the interior of any cracks and crevices. In many situations, where the driveway is full of multiple issues, a very stiff push broom can be used, to make sure the dirt and sand is out of the actual depths of the cracks and crevices. The more these areas are cleaned, the better the sealer and filler will adhere and remain in the areas that require filler.
  • Years ago, the clever solution to maintaining a driveway was to use old crankcase oil that remained after changing you oil. This crankcase oil was mixed with sand and used to spread over the surface of the asphalt, or in some instances the ground that was being used as a driveway or parking area. This was the poor man’s method of oiling the driveway, and would tend to harden in time and keep the dust down. A number of applications and the entire surface would harden up and develop into a stable surface. Of course, this method of stabilization is frowned upon by all of the environmentalists, and technology has developed products that are properly mixed and available as a filler or sealer.
  • Travel to your favorite big box store for many different products for your driveway maintenance. What you will find are the following (and probably many more!!)
  • Driveway sealers: These products are meant to be spread on the surface of your clean driveway to protect the asphalt from water penetration and asphalt surface deterioration. This application is normally applied as a full cover coat of sealer over the entire surface of the asphalt and is normally applied with a brush and a squeegee that will evenly spread the material over the surface.
  • Crack and crevice fillers: These products are meant to be applied into the individual cracks and crevices that have occurred during the years of use of your asphalt and hardscape surfaces. In many instances these products can be applied in a fashion similar to a caulking application, where a tube of filler material is placed in a special gun, that is designed to force the material into the depths of the crack or crevice. In other applications the installation may be a gravity application where the filler material is actually poured into the crack or crevice to fill the void. Check out all of the products, we are not going to tell you which material is best due to the location of the application as well as the local availability of the product. Check it out at your local hardware or big box store.
  • Once the driveway is properly treated for maximum protection, the cracks and crevices are filled, and the entire surface is treated with a sealer. It is very important that this maintenance procedure is repeated, in accordance with the instructions, on whatever sealer product you have chosen. As with any maintenance issue, the continuation of the procedure will ensure that substantial deterioration does not occur. A driveway or exposed parking area is constantly in the sun, is rained, snowed and subjected to plowing or sweeping. The surface will have a tendency to deteriorate, due to simply existing in the constant sun.

It is important that driveway and parking surfaces are given the proper maintenance to ensure that these important aspects of the property remain serviceable and aesthetically pleasing. The overall impression of a property, that is either surrounded by asphalt surfaces, or initially presented by a driveway, is influenced by the condition of this asphalt. In addition, lack of maintenance could result in a substantial maintenance cost in later years or even total replacement of the asphalt surfaces.

The real secret of keeping the drives and parking areas from deteriorating is to keep the water out of the sub-base of the surface. Once water starts to penetrate, or even run in the crevices and cracks, the deterioration will be instantly severe. Running water under asphalt can be catastrophic, maintenance of the surfaces to prevent water penetration, will allow the surfaces to remain intact, and not be undermined by erosion or a compromised sub-base.

Replacement is expensive / maintenance is not / maintain the hardscape surfaces around your structure for minimum financial exposure.

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