If you're like many homeowners, your driveway is made at least partially from asphalt and you have used that area for parking one or more of your vehicles for many years. However, regardless of how sturdy and reliable your driveway is, eventually damage in the form of cracks will occur. Timely repairs then need to be provided or the damage can quickly turn into potholes, which will be more expensive to repair and could easily damage vehicles that attempt to drive over or through the area. Therefore, if you don't know the last time the asphalt was inspected by a professional, or if you have recently started to notice new lines in the asphalt, it's a good idea to be aware of the facts shared below about detecting, repairing, and sealing damaged portions of your driveway.
Assessing The Existing Damage
It's first necessary to consider that even a crack as small as 1/8 of an inch wide is still likely to benefit from being filled. To be sure that you have found all of the imperfections, you need to be able to inspect your clean driveway. That means that you should remove any greenery that has managed to form on your driveway, including weeds, grass, flowers, etc. before assessing the area. Any debris that is present should be swept away, followed by a hearty spray of water and a cleaning solution to remove any clutter, oil stains, etc. from the asphalt.
When the driveway is dry and clean, it's safe to begin the repairs. It is often better to do it during the Winter and since the repairs will take some time to dry, make sure that no wet weather is expected in your area for at least a day.
Filling In The Cracks
If the width of the cracks in your driveway doesn't exceed a half inch, they are excellent candidates for simply being filled in. Common options for filling it in include a variety of caulk filler products, including some rubberized options. It is best to apply the substance slowly, with frequent smoothing of the product, in order to get it as close to ground level as possible.
Unfortunately, any damaged areas that are not filled and sealed appropriately will continue to degrade and eventually, without the proper maintenance, your driveway could become unsafe to use in any capacity.
Repairing The Big Imperfections
If the damaged area is already a pothole or is a wide or deep crack, your repair method will need to change. The caulk filler might still work, but you would require a lot of it. However, filling in the hole with crushed gravel until only the last two inches of open space are visible and then filling in that space with cold-patch blacktop provides better results.
As with the smaller cracks, it's important to proceed slowly and smooth the area often. Ideally, the final result will be even throughout for improved aesthetic appeal and increased usability.
Sealing The Newly Improved Area
Although repairing your driveway was probably easier than you expected, it's probably still not going to be on the top ten list of ways to spend a Saturday. Therefore, you will want to consider sealing the area after the cracks and damaged areas have been repaired and are completely dry. Sealing is known to extend the life of driveways due to its waterproofing abilities and the UV ray protection it provides. It can be done as little as six months after its initial installation and can be repeated at one- to three-year intervals, but requires a day or so of warm, dry weather before and after its application.
Sealing is a simple matter of pretending your driveway is a very big windshield. Starting with a damp surface, release the acrylic sealant and use a squeegee to smooth the substance evenly over the area. When the area has been covered, allow it to dry for a day or two, in sunny weather before using the driveway as you normally would.
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