Sealcoating 101: How to Repair Cracks in an Asphalt Driveway

how to repair cracks in an asphalt driveway

Sealcoating 101: How to Repair Cracks in an Asphalt Driveway

The first step of seal coating your driveway is repairing surface cracks.

If you don’t take care of these cracks, no matter how small they are, the sealcoating won’t protect your driveway as well as it should. Overlooking cracks will make you spend more money in the long run.

Check out this guide to learn more about sealcoating and how to repair cracks in an asphalt driveway.

The Importance of Sealcoating

Sealcoating your asphalt is an important part of maintaining your driveway or parking lot. It shields your pavement from the elements, makes it last a long time, and can even save you money.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most important benefits of seal coating your driveway.

1. It WeatherProofs Your Driveway

If you don’t waterproof your driveway, the water can absorb into the subgrade of the pavement. When the temperature gets cold enough, that water will freeze. This causes it to expand and crack the driveway’s surface.

These cracks create openings for more water. If you don’t take care of these damages, the water will continue to damage the subgrade and deteriorate your driveway or parking lot.

Sealcoating your driveway prevents any water from getting inside your asphalt. This keeps the pavement from cracking and extends its life expectancy.

2. It Saves Your Money

Asphalt is expensive. If you don’t take care of it, you’ll wind up with some serious damages. These lead to expensive repairs or, in some cases, even pricier replacements.

Sealcoating costs a few cents per square foot, and it will protect your driveway and parking lot from things like water, sunlight, and other weather damage. Investing in sealcoating services will cost less money than potential repairs, and it will save you money in the long run.

3. It Protects Your Driveway

A lot of the elements that come in contact with your driveway can be harmful to your asphalt. This includes things like oil, gasoline, water, and salt. Even the sun can damage your driveway.

How?

The ultraviolet rays have a drying action that makes your asphalt crack and deteriorate. Sealcoating gives your driveway a protective layer from harmful substances and the damaging sunlight.

4. It Makes Your Driveway Look Good

A smooth, black driveway looks a lot nicer than a bumpy, cracked, and grey driveway. For businesses, first impressions are important. A nice driveway can make you appear more trustworthy and can lead to more sales.

The First Step of Sealcoating

Sealcoating your driveway is important, but the first step of sealcoating is repairing surface cracks in your asphalt. Taking the time to fill in these cracks will give you the best sealcoating results.

If you decide to start sealcoating your driveway without addressing surface cracks, the cracks will keep deteriorating. Over time, they’ll develop into potholes.

So before you can think about sealcoating, you need to make sure the rest of your driveway is in good condition.

How to Repair Cracks in an Asphalt Driveway

Repairing surface cracks in your driveway doesn’t take a lot of work. It’s something you can do on your own without spending a lot of money or taking a lot of time out of your day.

It’s also a vital part of extending the life of your driveway.

We’ve broken down the required steps to repairing cracks in your asphalt. Here’s a quick guide that’ll show you when to get started, what you need, and how to prevent further damage.

When to Start Working

The weather plays an important part in repairing your driveway cracks.

Why?

If the outside temperature is too cold, the filler will freeze and crack. If it’s too warm, the filler will have a hard time setting.

The best temperature for repairing your cracked driveway is somewhere between 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You also want to make sure there isn’t any rain or snow on the forecast for the next several days.

Before you get to work on your driveway, make sure the weather conditions are right.

Cleaning and Preparing the Driveway First

Cleaning the damaged area will make sure the filler gives you a lasting repair. Your cleaning should start with sweeping or blowing debris like leaves, dirt, rocks, and dust off your pavement. If there are any stains around your cracks, use a degreaser or primer to remove them.

You might need to powerwash your driveway if there is any moss growing on the surface. Make sure you pull any weeds growing through the cracks.

Before you can fill the cracks, you’ll also have to widen the crack. This will make the edges as smooth as possible. You can do this with a diamond wheel and angle grinder or a chisel and hammer.

Don’t forget to blow all the debris out of the crack with a leaf blower. If you don’t have a leaf blower, you can wash the debris out with a hose. But remember, the pavement needs to be completely dry before you start working.

How to Fill Small Cracks

Small cracks are cracks between 1/8 of an inch to 1/2 an inch wide. You have to handle anything wider as a large crack.

To repair small cracks, you should use a rubberized, asphalt-emulsion crack filler.

Use a caulk gun to apply the asphalt filler into the crack if you have one. You can pour the filler into the crack without one, but it can be difficult. You’ll want to do your best to keep the filler off the undamaged pavement. Otherwise, the filler can stain the driveway.

Smooth the surface of the filler with a putty knife or a towel. Then let the filler dry according to the package instructions.

How to Fill Large Cracks

Large cracks are anything larger than 1/2 an inch. These types of cracks need a type of cold process asphalt repair compound, like blacktop.

To start, make sure the crack isn’t deeper than 2 inches. You can fill the crack if it’s too deep with crushed, angular gravel. Don’t use other types of gravel because they can create an unstable base.

Compact the gravel with a steel tamper (or a normal 4×4 piece of wood), and fill the crack with your repair compound. Compact the compound a second time. You might need to add more compound and compact it a few times to make sure the crack is level with the rest of the driveway.

Sealcoating 101: Repairing Driveway Cracks

You can’t sealcoat your driveway without taking care of surface damage first. That’s why it’s so important to know how to repair cracks in an asphalt driveway. Before you start sealcoating your pavement, make sure there isn’t any damage that’ll cause problems later down the road.

Ready to sealcoat your driveway? Take a look at some of our services and find out how we can help.