Asphalt driveways are prone to cracking, sinkholes and other problems often caused by excess traffic, heavy vehicles and even weather. If your home's asphalt driveway shows signs of damage like this, it's important that you address it as soon as possible. Otherwise, the cracks and other damage may spread and cause further problems. By dealing with the problem right away, you may save significantly as compared to the cost of complete replacement.

Getting the Driveway Ready for Repair

For your asphalt repair to be successful and last, you need to start with a clean, properly-prepared driveway surface. Things like dirt, weeds and other contaminants can interfere with the asphalt adhesion.

Clean the Driveway - Start by sweeping the entire driveway with a stiff broom. A push-broom is a great choice because it's stiff enough to push everything off the surface of the driveway. If there are any damaged areas, like cracks or holes, that still have debris in them, clean them out too. If it's sunny and hot outside, you can rinse the driveway with a pressure washer. Just make sure that you only use water on it when it's sunny and hot, that way it can dry out quickly. There shouldn't be any residual moisture on the driveway when you start repair work. Any moisture in the cracks or holes can cause damage if sealed in during the repairs.

Remove the Weeds - If there are cracks or holes in the asphalt, you're likely to also have weeds growing up between those cracks. You'll want to either pull them out or dig them out. If you pull them, make sure that you pull carefully so that you remove the entire root system. Otherwise, the weeds will grow back and potentially thicken and push at the new asphalt.

Starting the Repairs

To fill in cracks and small potholes in your driveway, you'll want cold-mix asphalt. You'll have to check the coverage ratio for the brand you choose to make sure that you buy enough to fill in all of the damaged areas that you need to address.

If the pothole is so deep that it goes beyond the asphalt and is into the gravel layer beneath, you'll want to fill the bottom of the pothole with gravel or dirt until it's level with the bottom of the asphalt layer. That way, you have a solid foundation to patch.

To get the new cold patch to settle into place and meld into the existing asphalt edges, you might find that it's easiest to warm the edges of the asphalt around the hole. That way, when you fill the hole, it will all meld together. You can do this with a small torch for the best results.

Once you've warmed the edges, fill the hole with cold patch material. Pour enough into the hole or crack that it's mounded an inch or so above the opening. Spread the asphalt over the top with the back of your shovel, then use a tamper to pack it down so that it is tight.

It's important that you compact it as much as possible because that is a key to making the asphalt last. The goal is to compact it so that it is as close as possible to being completely level to the rest of the driveway. If you add too much and you have a lump, scrape away the excess with a shovel until it's even. Then, treat the whole driveway with a sealant every couple of years to make sure that it stays at its best for the year.

When you understand how to repair your driveway's damages, you'll be able to keep it in good condition no matter what comes your way. With the tips here and the help of a qualified asphalt paving company, you can repair your driveway or resurface it completely. If you still have more questions about asphalt repairs, continue reading more on websites for asphalt specialists.