Keeping your asphalt driveway in good shape means addressing problems the moment they appear. Waiting until the last minute before taking action can be hazardous to you and your family.
Small children or elderly members of the family can trip on uneven sections of the driveway if not repaired in a timely manner, and get seriously injured. Constant vehicular traffic on collapsed or sunken portions of your asphalt driveway can tear them open, turning these depressions into potholes.
How do potholes form?
When rain or melted snow seeps into the foundation of your asphalt pavement, it can get trapped inside. This trapped moisture, if not drained right away, can freeze during winter. When water freezes, it expands and forces its surrounding areas to expand. The surface of your asphalt driveway tries to compensate by flexing. However, unsealed or worn asphalt cannot flex properly.
Due to the weight of vehicles constantly driving over a weakened section of the driveway, the foundation sags and the asphalt surface breaks apart, creating cracks. Over time, pieces of the aggregate will continue to come loose and widen these cracks. With continuous impact from weather and traffic, the edges of these cracks erode and eventually turn into gaping potholes.
Prepping for repairs
Before dumping your driveway patch on damaged areas and calling it a day, you will need to prepare the surface first.
- Clean the pothole thoroughly by sweeping off loose pieces of asphalt aggregate and other debris. Use a stiff bristle broom to remove chunks and follow through with a blower, such as the LandShark High Output Walk-Behind Blower, to get rid of fine sand material.
- Pull out weeds and sweep away fallen leaves. A blower can also do the trick, but if the weather is rainy and the vegetation is moist, it might not be the best option as leaves tend to stick together when wet. Instead, use a rake or a stiff brush to clear away vegetation.
- Scoop or siphon standing water from out of the pothole. Excessive moisture can prevent driveway patch from adhering properly, so it is best to keep the area as dry as possible.
- Once you have cleaned the areas as thoroughly as you can, check for any rain forecast. Although you can resume using your driveway a few hours after applying our driveway patch, ensure that there is no forecasted rain within 24-48 hours after application for best results.
When is the best time to apply driveway patch?
Summer is the most ideal time of the year to make repairs on your driveway. However, potholes need to be filled as soon as possible, to prevent them from growing bigger. To keep sagging portions of your driveway from actually turning into full-fledged potholes by the time winter is over, we suggest that you start filling them any time, up until autumn, to keep the snow from causing further damage.
If it's not possible to repair potholes before winter sets in, make sure to do so when doing your spring cleaning.
Which type of driveway patch should I use?
Depending on the size of the cracks and potholes visible in your asphalt driveway, there are three different options that you can choose from.
1. Gator Patch
A crack filler? Yes, you read it correctly. If the network of cracks on your driveway are widespread but shallow (less than ½”), and appears like the back of an alligator, apply a coat of Gator Patch crack filler. Since this product doesn’t need mixing, it can be applied directly on the cracks using a trowel or putty knife.
To use, gently spray the cracked asphalt surface with water just until moist. Do not oversaturate. Spread Gator Patch onto the cracks evenly, making sure that the material actually fills them. This should prevent the walls of the cracks from caving in. Sprinkle the surface with sand to avoid tracking. Allow the patch to cure for at least 4 hours before using your driveway again.
The Gator Patch is highly applicable for warm weather repairs. Temperature should be at least 10⁰C and no rain is forecasted within 48 hours after application.
2. Cold Driveway Patch for Shallow Holes
The Cold Patch Asphalt Repair is available in 20 kg. bags and is ideal for holes that are about 1” deep or less. This product is more ideal for cold weather repairs and binds on to damaged asphalt surfaces even when wet.
Pour or shovel the pre-mixed aggregate into the potholes, until it reaches just above the surface. Use a pothole tamper to tamp down and compact the mix, adding as much as needed, until the holes are completely filled. Tampers have a square metal head and a long handle. If you don’t own one yet, they are usually available in local hardware stores, or you can rent one for the day from your local tool rental shops. Tamp down the driveway patch until completely compacted. The more compact the patch is, the better it will hold up.
If your driveway has a lot of potholes, using a pothole tamper can be very exhausting, as you will have to manually tamp down each hole, while making sure that everything is compacted properly. The more compressed the asphalt aggregate is, the better it will hold up to continuous wear and tear. So instead of using a handheld pothole tamper, rent a vibratory plate compactor. This walk-behind powerful machine works by driving its metal plate onto the patch over and over to tightly compress the loose aggregate. A compactor helps finish the job faster and more efficiently.
3. Permanent Pothole Repair Patch
This option is best for nasty, gaping holes that are up to 4 inches deep. The Permanent Pothole Repair Patch is a pre-mixed cold driveway patch that comes in buckets. This mixture is created specifically for asphalt driveways, parking lots and highways. It is engineered to stick to various roadway surfaces, and is composed of professional-grade PSV (Polished Stone Value) and bitumen to ensure permanent adhesion. To use, pour over potholes and tamp down until compacted.
If the hole in your pavement is wider and deeper than 4 inches, you can opt for the cut and patch method. Using a concrete or demo saw with diamond blade (available in hardware stores and tool rental shops), cut the damaged section into a square or rectangular shape for a clean edge. Remove the crumbling surface, sweep or brush off any debris, and fill with the cold patch mixture until about half-full. Tamp down to pack the patch, and add another layer until slightly above the surface. Tamp down completely packed, or use a vibrating compactor for best results.
The Permanent Pothole Repair Patch can be used year round in any temperature: hot or cold, rain or snow. Not just for potholes, this driveway patch is also applicable if you want to fill in and repair uneven sidewalks, bridge joints, and concrete roads, or just to even out a thin layer of pavement. This instant repair patch dries fast, so you can drive over it just a few minutes after application.
Now that all cracks have been filled and potholes repaired, your next step is to sealcoat your driveway. Sealcoating protects the repairs you made while prolonging the life of the asphalt. This also makes everything appear uniform and aesthetically pleasing to look at.