If you want to fix the cracks in your asphalt driveway just like the professionals do, you'll need to purchase a few tools and set aside a day to fix your driveway. It will take some time and a small investment in the right tools, but you will save on labor costs, and you'll have the tools you need on hand the next time your driveway needs fixed.
The Supplies & Equipment
In order to patch your asphalt driveway like a professional, you'll need to purchase melt-in filler. Melt-in asphalt filler will not shrink after it is applied and will not cause additional cracks. This is a construction grade product. Stay away from squeeze bottles and caulk style fillers; most of these types of products are easy to apply, but shrink over time and cause the cracks you just fixed to appear again quickly.
You are also going to need a trowel patch for this project, as well as a propane torch and an extension cord. Additionally, you need to feel comfortable using these tools. If you do not, you should hire a professional asphalt contractor to fix your driveway.
Choose The Right Day
The day that you fix your driveway really depends on the weather. You should fix your driveway on a sunny day, when the temperatures are not dropping down into the freezing territory. When it gets too cold outside, it will be difficult to mix the melt-in filler, and the temperature can prevent the filler from curing and settling. You'll also want to make sure that there is no rain in the forecast for at least 24 hours; that way, the filler material will be able to set up.
Prepare Your Driveway
You can prepare your driveway the same day you patch it, or you can do it on a separate day close to the day you patch it. You'll want to use a garden hose or a pressure washer to remove any dirt and debris from your driveway. If there are any weeds growing in the cracks in your driveway, you'll want to pull them out.
Finally, if there is old, broken down asphalt inside of the cracks, you'll want to remove it. You can use a flat-headed screwdriver to remove the material, or pressures wash the old material out of the crack. You can also use a leaf blower or compressed air gun to remove any dust and debris from the cracks in your driveway.
Stuff The Cracks
Once the cracks are clean, you'll want to essentially stuff the cracks with the filler that you purchased. You'll want to use a flat-bladed screwdriver to help you push the filler into the cracks. You need to fill the cracks up so that they line up with the surface of your driveway.
Melt The Filler
Once you have filled the cracks up with the filler, you'll need to set up your propane torch. Use the extension cord to plug it in and ensure that you can reach all the cracks. You will want to turn the torch on low; you don't want to melt the filler material too fast.
Sweep the flame about a foot above the crack slowly back and forth until the material starts to melt. If it doesn't melt, turn up the torch just a little bit, and continue with the sweeping motion until it starts to melt. The filler will go from looking like a white-ish substance to the black color you associate with asphalt. It may put off a little heat, but should not smoke excessively or smell like it is burning. If it does, you need to turn down your torch or hold it a couple of inches further back.
Cover It With A Trowel Patch
Finally, after the crack has cooled off for at least half an hour, you can apply the trowel patch to the crack. You'll want to lay down a small amount of trowel patch material and use the trowel to even and smooth it out. This will ensure that the crack is completely filled and even.
The length of time this project will take depends on how many cracks you have in your driveway. If you only have one crack, you should be able to complete this entire process in a couple of hours. If you have multiple long cracks, you may need to dedicate an entire day to fixing your driveway.
Speak to a local paving contractor for more information.