The driveway is often the first part of your home that guests experience. If it has experienced a lot of wear and tear, that is not the best first impression you can make. You may feel that you can’t fix it, but in reality it is pretty simple to repair the driveway and improve curb appeal.
Asphalt Driveway Repair and Sealing
Cleaning is the first and most important part of repair on an asphalt driveway. Remove grass and weeds and loose chunks of asphalt, and sweep away large debris with a broom. Scrub the driveway with driveway cleaner to remove all dirt and oil, repeating if necessary. If oil stains remain, use an oil-spot primer. Hose off the driveway with a water hose or with pressurized air, and use a shop vacuum to remove dirt and debris from inside the cracks. When the driveway is completely clean, let it dry thoroughly before beginning the repairs.
Crack repair may be best done in the cooler weather of fall and winter. For cracks 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide, use rubberized asphalt-emulsion crack filler. You can apply it with a caulking gun or pour it from a bucket. If possible, avoid getting the filler on the surface, and smooth it with a putty knife. For a very wide crack or pothole, shovel in packaged cold-patch blacktop, leveling large areas with an iron rake. Compact the material with a tamper (or the end of a 4-by-4 in a pinch). Add more material until the hole is slightly overfilled. Cover it with scrap plywood and drive over it to completely compact the filling.
Sealing is an optional process on asphalt, and may not significantly extend the life of the driveway. If you choose to seal an asphalt driveway, you may prefer to do it in summer. First, mist the driveway with water. Then pour a stream of acrylic driveway sealer or filler 1 foot wide across the driveway. Spread to a width of 3 to 4 feet with a brush or squeegee applicator. Remove all excess sealer, using the applicator and pulling toward you. Work your way down the driveway.
Concrete Driveway Repair and Sealing
The first step in repairing a concrete driveway is cleaning (just like with asphalt). Use a dish detergent and water on the area and scrub with a push broom. Allow to dry completely before you begin repairs
Fill the holes and cracks with clean sand about half-way up. Mix quick drying concrete in a bucket or wheelbarrow according to the manufacturer’s directions. Stir with a shovel to mix. Apply the concrete, dropping concrete in with a shovel along the entire crack and into the holes. Even out the new concrete with a trowel, and spread the extra along the edges of the crack, blending with the old concrete. Allow to dry for at least 12 hours.
When the repaired area is completely dry, it’s time to seal the concrete. Although sealing is optional on asphalt, it is absolutely essential on concrete. If you fail to seal the surface, further cracking will occur. Even without cracks, you should consider periodically sealing your concrete driveway. Once the repair is dry, apply a concrete sealant to the entire driveway. Pour on the sealant and spread with a push broom.
Do it yourself driveway repair can be a pretty simple weekend project, with just a few supplies and tools from the home improvement store. Keeping your driveway in good shape is an easy way to make sure that you always make a good impression.