Has your asphalt driveway begun to develop a few cracks? Likely, this is a sign that the driveway is in need of sealing. But before you hire an asphalt repair company to come apply a coat of sealant, you can tackle the task of filling the actual cracks yourself. This will save you some money on repairs—and luckily, it's a pretty simple project that you can complete in the span of an afternoon. Here's how.
Step 1: Cleaning the Crack
If there are any weeds or grass growing in the crack, your first step is to pull them up. You may need to apply some water to the crack first, as this will loosen the roots and make the weeds easier to pull.
Once the crack is free of vegetation, use a little putty knife or a similar tool to pick out any dirt or debris in the crack. Then, rinse the crack out with the hose or a power washer to get rid of any granules or loose pieces of asphalt.
Step 2: Applying the Filler
You can purchase pre-filled squeeze bottles of asphalt crack filler at most hardware stores; using these is the easiest crack-filling method. Do not begin applying the filler until the asphalt is completely dry. Put the tip of the container in the crack, and squeeze with even pressure as you move the bottle along the length of the crack. If the crack is not filled to the top, repeat this step to add more crack filler. Do not worry if a little filler seeps out over the edge of the crack; you'll take care of this in the next step.
Step 3: Leveling the Surface
Grab a squeegee. You can find ones made for this purpose at the hardware store, or you can use one intended for windows if you don't mind ruining it. (It will get crack filler stuck to it.) Drag the squeegee over the tops of the cracks to smooth out any filler than has seeped over the edge. Keep dragging until the area is completely smooth. It's okay if the filler spreads out along the top of the asphalt a little. It won't be obvious once the sealer is applied.
Step 4: Applying Sealer (Optional -- You can skin this step if you have a driveway professional coming to seal your driveway within the next week or two.)
Applying sealer to the repaired area will help keep moisture from working its way back into the border of your cracks. For a small project like this, it's easiest to use a spray can of asphalt sealer rather than a big bucket. Spray the sealer over the entire filled area, using wide sweeping motions. Let the sealer dry for an hour or two, and then apply a second coat.
Step 5: Keeping your results in good shape.
In order to prevent your driveway from developing more cracks, make sure you have it sealed annually or as often as is recommended by your asphalt repair professional. You should also avoid using rock salt to melt snow on the driveway in the winter. Look for liquid, asphalt-safe melting products instead. Try to avoid parking overly heavy vehicles—like campers—on the asphalt driveway for a long period of time.
If your driveway has a lot of cracks or if sealing the cracks seems like too involved of a project, consider having a professional from a company like Boswell Brothers Paving complete this job for you instead. You can expect to pay about $6 to $10 per square foot for driveway repair, which is about twice what it will cost you to buy the materials and do it yourself.