Tips To Help Install, Maintain, And Repair Your Asphalt Driveway For A Long Useful Life

Your asphalt driveway can last from 15 to 20 years, as long as it has been installed properly and you maintain it by applying a seal coat every two years. To help your asphalt driveway last as long as possible, here are tips to help you install a new asphalt driveway, and how to make repairs to your existing asphalt driveway.

Prepare the Foundation

If you are laying a new asphalt driveway, then you have the added benefit of making sure the driveway's soil foundation is prepared the right way. To do this, you will need to apply a soil sterilizer to the soil where you will install your new asphalt driveway. This is to prevent any weed growth in the soil, which will break apart your asphalt over time. You can find your choice of soil sterilizer at most home improvement stores, or you can apply a treatment of safe, homemade soil sterilizer/weed killer. Combine two cups of table salt to every gallon of white vinegar and stir it until the salt has dissolved. Then, use a garden sprayer to saturate the soil with this mixture.

Next, pour an eight to ten-inch layer of angular, crushed gravel over the sterilized soil driveway site. This type of gravel will better form a solid surface, as the gravel's rough edges grip together when you compact the gravel with a surface compactor. You can rent a surface compactor from an equipment rental to compact the gravel. 

Now, the site is prepared to pour the asphalt layer. You can hire a professional asphalt paving company to complete the work, or do the work yourself, if you have the knowledge and materials.

Repair Cracks and Potholes

Cracks and potholes can appear in your asphalt from freeze-thaw cycles and weathering over its life. Make sure you do any repairs when the outside temperature is at least 60 degrees F, to ensure the repair products will harden and cure. 

Smaller Cracks

To repair any cracks less than one-half-inch wide, first, pull any weeds and remove other debris from the crack. You can use a power washer or garden hose to spray the debris from the crack, or brush it out with a broom. You can also suck out any debris with a shop vacuum. Then, apply a soil sterilizer to the crack to prevent further weed growth. Make sure to allow the crack to dry completely before applying the crack filler.

Fill the hole with a tube of asphalt patch product. Use a putty knife or your gloved fingers to smooth the surface of the filled crack, not allowing any of the patching filler to spill over the surface of the surrounding asphalt. Allow the filler to dry for 24 to 48 hours before you walk or drive over it.

Larger Cracks and Potholes

Cracks and potholes one-half-inch wide and larger will need to be first, cleaned of any weeds and debris, just as you did with cracks smaller than one-half inch wide. Then, you will need some bagged cold-mix asphalt, which usually is sold at most home improvement stores. 

If the crack or pothole is deeper than two inches, pour some crushed gravel into the bottom of the crack, filling it up to two inches from the surface of the asphalt. Tamp the gravel down to compact it with a hand tamp or four-by-four wooden post. Then, scoop with a trowel or shovel, or pour the cold-mixed asphalt into the gap. Be sure to tamp and compress the cold mix with a hand tamp or the end of a four-by-four wooden post. 

Add more cold mix to the top of the crack or pothole, tamping it down until the surface of the repair is level with the surrounding asphalt surface. The cold mix asphalt will dry in a day or so, but will take a few weeks to completely harden.

Use this information to help you install, maintain, and repair your asphalt driveway to help it last many years.