If your asphalt driveway has cracks, you should repair them as soon as you can. The cracks are unsightly, but even worse, they allow water to seep into the base under the driveway. This can cause the soil to shift and the cracking to get worse. When you're ready to make repairs, the first decision is if you want to do the work yourself or if you want to hire a paving contractor. Here is a look at how asphalt cracks are repaired and how to know when it's best to have it done by a contractor.
DIY Or Contractor
Before you attempt to make repairs yourself, take a look at the extent of the damage. If the cracks are small and mostly on the surface, you can probably do the job yourself without too much trouble. However, if there are many cracks all over your driveway, or if the cracks are deep, you may want to hire a contractor to save yourself some labor-intensive work. Another reason to hire a contractor is so the repaired asphalt can be sealed. Cracks usually develop because the asphalt isn't sealed, and rain seeps through that promotes cracking. A contractor can repair all the cracks and then seal your driveway to prevent further damage.
Repairing asphalt cracks begins with having a clean, dry surface. You'll need to clean broken bits of asphalt, dirt, weeds, and other debris out of all the cracks. You may need to scrape out each crack by hand. You can also use an air gun or a power washer. If you get the asphalt wet, you should wait a day before making repairs so the surface is dry. These steps are necessary so the crack filler will adhere to the asphalt.
Buy some asphalt crack filler from a hardware store. You'll also need a caulk gun, rubber gloves, and a putty knife. Apply the filler into a crack, press it in with a gloved hand, and then scrape off the top so the filler dries level with the asphalt. Be careful not to get too much of the filler on the surface because the color will be different from the asphalt, and that makes the repair work noticeable.
A contractor can make repairs much quicker and easier by simply putting on a new thin layer of asphalt. The new layer fills in cracks as the machine puts it down. This is the best way to fill in deep cracks, alligator cracks, and even small potholes. The best thing about this approach is that the surface of your driveway is a uniform color after the repairs, so the work is invisible and the driveway appears rejuvenated.
The final step in asphalt crack repairs is putting on the sealcoat. This coating material bonds with the driveway and acts as a barrier against rain, oil stains, and UV damage. The sealcoat is sprayed on as a liquid and allowed to dry. The surface of the driveway must be clean and free from cracks and potholes first. If extensive repairs are done first, you may need to wait several days or weeks for the filler or new asphalt to fully cure before the sealcoat is applied.
Once all the repairs are done and your driveway is covered with a sealcoat, the driveway will look good as new. The color is restored and old cracks are invisible. Not only that, the work prolongs the life of your driveway by preventing further damage. Contact a company like Central Paving & Sealcoating Inc for more information.