Easy Repairs For Big Asphalt Cracks

When someone pulls into your driveway, the first thing they're likely to notice about your house is your driveway. With winter, spring, and summer temperatures expanding and contracting your asphalt driveway, it's important to give your driveway a little TLC every year. Even the smallest crack can quickly grow into a yawning and dangerous eyesore. 

Here's a quick guide to help you tackle even the biggest cracks in your asphalt driveway: 

Clean Your Cracks

Before repairing any sized crack in your asphalt driveway you will need to clean each crack. Any dirt, rocks, or other material left in the cracks will prevent subsequent repair materials from adhering properly.

  • Power washing (x2) is undoubtedly the most efficient and effective way to clean asphalt cracks completely. When power washing asphalt cracks, start from the driveway's highest point and work down to its lowest point. Set your nozzle at 3000 psi and slowly spray the length of each crack. It's important to methodically spray the length of each crack at close range. Once you you've sprayed each crack, begin the process over again to be sure that the each crack is washed clean.
  • Dry and Warm before attempting to repair asphalt cracks it's critical to make sure that all surfaces are completely dry and that temperatures remain above 60 degrees. This may require checking the forecast and potentially waiting until condition are optimal.  

Rope Your Cracks

Now that your asphalt cracks are clean, dry, and warm, you can now go about filling them in. Although there are many asphalt fillers, the most cost effective and efficient crack sealers are ropes-like sealers made out of tough, flexible, and malleable silicon. 

These silicon ropes generally come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. It's important to have each size on hand to make sure you can seal each crack properly. Having multiple sizes also allows you to fill cracks that bulge and taper in width and/or depth. For instance, if a crack is small or shallow at either end but wide or deep in the middle you can sandwich multiple ropes together in the middle (side-by-side or stacked) at the crack's widest and/or deepest point. 

The key to making these sealing ropes most effective is to drive them down into the cracks. Simply put, the deeper you can position each rope, the more the rope will retard an asphalt crack. A flathead screwdriver and rubber mallet will allow you to wedge and pound the sealing ropes quickly and effectively into place.

Once your sealing ropes have been wedged and pounded into place, you can use a handheld torch to melt the sealing rope permanently. When using a handheld torch it's important to move the torch slowly along the crack. Once the sealant has melted and bubbled over the crack you will know that it's in place.*

*Leather gloves, thick soled shoes, and pants are critical for ensuring safety during the torch sealing process. Melted asphalt exposed to bare skin can cause serious burns.

Seal Your Cracks

Now that your asphalt cracks have been roped, your last step is to seal them. After giving your rope seals at least a day set, you will need to make sure your surface is uniformly level. This often requires you to use a putty scraper to clean excess rope sealant that may create lips that can cause water to pool and permeate your asphalt driveway. Once your surface is level, you will need to apply an asphalt sealant over the length of each crack. Using a deck brush or roller makes this process simple and effective.

After allowing your sealant to cure for 48-72 hours, you can resume using your driveway. 

If you have trouble filling in the cracks on your own, contact a paving company like R Williams Paving LLC for assistance.