How to Patch and Seal an Asphalt Driveway

By patching and sealing your asphalt driveway you can avoid the water damage that causes the asphalt to crumble. While many professionals will charge hundreds of dollars to patch and seal an asphalt driveway, the careful homeowner can do the work himself.

Before beginning this project it is important to know if your asphalt driveway is beyond repair. Excessively crumbly asphalt is an indication that water has seeped below the asphalt driveway and is eroding the gravel below. Depending on how large the affected areas are, it may only be effective to replace the entire driveway. A smaller crumbly patch can usually be removed and then the gravel re-compacted and the area patched.

Because of the excessive damage that water can cause, you should patch any holes in asphalt as soon as possible. This is any easy repair. Begin by removing all of the crumbled or dislodged asphalt and vacuum it thoroughly with a shop vacuum. Next you should fill the hole with an asphalt patch material. There are both cold and hot patch options, but if you have access to a heat gun you should definitely use the hot patch asphalt.

With the hole slightly overfilled with hot patch material, use a heat gun to warm the entire area. When the patch has melted slightly, use a trowel to tamp it down and make it smooth. Then use a cement block to further pound the patch material into the hole until it is level.

Sometimes there are not holes that need a patch, but long cracks. Because these cracks can also cause water damage if left untreated, address them quickly. Many manufacturers make compounds that are specifically formulated to patch asphalt. They are applied with a caulk gun in the crack and then smoothed with a putty knife.

When you have patched and sealed any cracks you can then completely seal the driveway. A new seal can make an asphalt driveway appear almost new. A seal that is applied carefully can also blend any patches in with the surrounding surface.

After all of the patches have cured according to the manufacturer’s instructions you should clean the driveway using an asphalt cleaner and a nylon bristled scrub brush before applying the seal. It is best to wait for a warm, sunny day to seal your asphalt driveway. Conversely, if the driveway is to be removed a cold day is best.

With the driveway cleaned, patched, and sealed, you can start to seal your driveway. While there are many squeegees on the market that are marketed to use with an asphalt sealer, a sturdy, industrial type broom is often easiest to use for the homeowner applying a seal. Begin working on one corner and then push your way to the opposite end. Apply sealer as you need it, and be careful to apply a generous, but thin coat to the entire driveway to create an even seal.

When the driveway is completed, block it off from traffic to prevent anyone from walking on the seal until it is cured. Be sure to find out the manufacturers recommended curing time for the seal you have chosen and wait at least that long before you drive your car on the driveway.

Patching your driveway and finishing with a seal is a great update to an older driveway. Keep in mind that a patch is best applied as soon as you notice the need for one to prevent water damage to the asphalt. A new seal can be postponed until a warm day. Of course, applying an asphalt seal can be quite a job if you have a long driveway. In this case, you may want to call a professional to do the work for you.

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