Last Update: Thursday, November 28, 2013
|HERE'S HOW- Fix Cracks in Asphalt Driveway That Stay Fixed|
|Written by Pat Logan Creative Syndicate|
|Thursday, 26 September 2013 07:30|
Dear Pat: The asphalt driveway at my house was replaced just several years ago, but some cracks have developed. I have tried to repair them, but they keep opening up. How can I make a permanent repair? -- Anna G.
Dear Anna: It can be very disappointing to install a new driveway that looks great and then have ugly cracks form in just a couple of years. You should contact the company that installed the new asphalt driveway to see if they will repair it for you.
It may be difficult to make it look like new again. Since your asphalt driveway is relatively new, serious cracks indicate there are some problems with the gravel base. The asphalt company should have totally removed all the old asphalt, leveled and compacted a gravel base, and then laid the new asphalt layer.
With an unstable gravel base, for whatever reason, there probably is not a "permanent" repair for the current cracks. This does not mean you cannot make repairs that last several years, but smaller cracks appearing through the repair are probable. Smaller cracks are easier to fix and, if you are lucky, they may be small enough that they are not an aesthetic issue.
Another problem you may have had with the repair is you did not follow the repair material manufacturer's instructions. People typically don't read the instructions thoroughly and just start filling in the crack. One common problem is to fill the crack when the temperature outside is too cold for the repair material. It may be warm enough during the day, but it may get too cold the first night before it is set. This results in poor adhesion.
The repair material instructions may also recommend a maximum thickness for the repair. Filling the entire depth of a deep crack can result in too much shrinkage. If there is a deep crack, it should first be filled with a foam backer rod. The ideal depth of the repair material should not be more than twice the width of the crack.
Don't give up and assume things are hopeless because it is important to keep those cracks as filled and closed as possible. Wherever there is a crack, water can seep through it into the ground. This will make the base even more unstable.
This is a particularly serious problem in cold climates. Water expands as it freezes. If it rains during the daytime and then the temperature drops below freezing at night, the water in the crack can freeze. This expanding ice will force your previous repair compounds out of the crack.
No matter what type of repair material you select, clean out the crack as thoroughly as possible. This is important so the repair material has a solid surface to which to adhere. Use a screwdriver to dig out any big chunks and then a stiff brush followed by a wet/dry vacuum to remove the fine particles.