Most of the asphalt used today comes from petroleum crude oil. Therefore, when crude oil prices spike to an all-time high, asphalt prices also rise. It is reflected in the increased cost of paving a new driveway or repaving an old one.
Regardless of the economy, there will always be a need to repair or replace asphalt. It is one of the most durable pavement materials; however, it is not indestructible. Over time, it will succumb to human traffic and the elements.
Pull out the DIY tools and get to work when alligator cracking and potholes start surfacing.
Clean the Cracks:
The lovely (or not so lovely) weed is the number one enemy of asphalt. It will grow in the smallest of cracks and crevices. If left unchecked, weed will widen the cracks. Before you can patch the damages, you need to clean them out.
Renting a power washer may not fall within your budget, but vinegar may become your new best friend. Mix a vinegar-based solution (one-part vinegar to four parts water) and douse the cracks. Allow the mixture to sit for about 30 minutes before scrubbing the area with a wire brush.
Fill in the Cracks:
Did you know that potholes are a case-gone-wrong of cracks? A pothole forms when water seeps into the cracks, freezes, and expands. The expansion puts pressure on the asphalt, and voilà, you have a pothole. The moral of the story: don’t let cracks sit for too long without addressing them, or you’ll have an expensive repair to deal with.
A wire brush can help clear the crack of any loose debris, like dirt and rocks. You’ll also need a putty knife to press the asphalt filler into the gap. And, of course, you’ll need asphalt filler. You can find this at a local hardware store. Small purchases with a significant impact, that’s what we like!
Applying a Patching Compound:
Patching compounds come in either cold-patch or hot-patch varieties. Asphalt repair companies use hot-patch techniques for professional repairs. But this method requires specialized equipment that the average homeowner doesn’t have access to. So, cold-patch asphalt repair is a better choice.
You can find cold-patch asphalt repair kits at most hardware stores.
Start by cleaning the crack with a wire brush to apply a cold patch. Next, fill the area with the repair compound, using a trowel to smooth it out. Finally, compact the site with a hand roller or tamper. Allow the site to dry for 24 hours before driving or walking on it.
All your hard work (and investment) won’t matter if you don’t seal the cracks. As water seeps into the cracks, it will erode the foundation of your asphalt, causing it to crumble.
You’ll need to buy a tube of asphalt sealant to seal cracks. Apply the sealant on a clean and dry surface. You can smooth it out with a putty knife. Make sure to wear gloves, as it can be pretty messy. It’s a good thing you don’t have to invest in new tools, as a putty knife should do the trick.
Logistic and freight charges on asphalt have been on the rise in recent years. You must stock up on the asphalt filler and sealant products you use to maintain your driveway while prices are still low.
If, even for once, you feel like you can’t repair the asphalt on your own, don’t hesitate to call a professional. It’s better to spend some money and get the job done right rather than risk making a mistake that could cost you more in the long run.
Doctor Asphalt is a full-service asphalt company in Fitchburg, WI, which can help you with your repair and maintenance needs. Schedule a free quote today and see how we can help you save money on your asphalt repairs!