Fixing Your Cracked Concrete Driveway
Curb appeal is still NUMBER ONE when it comes to home value. And, from the curb, the first thing we see is the driveway. Yes, the driveway may be invisible if it is in good condition and surrounded by a plush landscape. But, there isn’t a posh garden anywhere that is pretty enough to hide a concrete or asphalt driveway that looks like and Indy 500 pit stop.
There isn’t much you can do with a cracked concrete driveway. But, sprucing one up that is simply dirty or stained is relatively easy and usually involves either acid cleaning, power washing and/or steam cleaning. Old can be made to look new in an afternoon. The bad thing about concrete is that once it is cracked repairs are nearly impossible. All you can really do is caulk or patch — both are highly visible repairs that don’t renew the look of the surface.
On the other hand, asphalt can be made to look brand new. Cracks, potholes and discoloration can all be dealt with, but the task is not a breeze compared to cleaning a concrete surface.
Before making your asphalt repairs it is absolutely a must that oil and grease be removed. Scrubbing with detergent will take the longest, but is least expensive. Oh, and don’t try to cover over weeds they will grow through your repairs. Uproot them and treat the areas first.
Potholes are the hardest part of any asphalt repair. Sacks of repair compound are heavy and hard to work with, but don’t let that get you down, once repaired, the drive or walkway will look brand new again. Asphalt patching compound is sold in sacks similar in size and weight to concreate ready mix. When temperatures are cold the patching compound becomes very hard and when the weather gets hot the mix softenes. Naturally, it is easier to work with when it is soft, so plan your pot hole repairs for a warm day. Asphalt patching compound works best when the repair is several inches thick. Shallow dips in the surface can be patched but if they are too shallow (an inch or so) the patch won’t hold up for very long.
To make the actual repair you’ll need enough patching compound to fill the hole (mounded), a sheet of thick plywood (three-quarter inch or thicker) and an automobile (any kind as long as it runs). First, fill the pothole with the patching material and mound it on top. Next, cover the patch with a peice of plywood that is larger than the pothole. And finally, drive over the plywood with your car tires. Continue the process until the weight of the car compresses the patching material into the pothole. Patching material can be added until the desired level is reached.
For cracks, a liquid crack filler is poured directly onto the area of the crack. The filler is available in gallon cans, and like the patching compound, works better when it is used in warmer temperatures. Allow the filler to seep into the caracks. Some of the filler will remain on the surface. It should not be disturbed.
Once you have repaired all of the potholes and cracks, you are then ready to make your asphalt surface look brand new again by applying a coat of sealear. This is sometimes referred to as slurry (short for slurry sealer). Slurry is a term that describes a liquid like mixture.
Anyway, the sealer is a thick, black liquid that can be purchased in five-gallon cans. Forming an even coat of sealer can be a trick. We’ve heard of people who use mops, paint rollers wooden trowels and who knows what else, but a squeege works best. Remeber, even though it is a liquid asphalt sealer is heavy and has to be moved over a large area. For best results pour the sealer from the can directly onto the surface to be sealed. From the directions on the can determine how much liquid should be used to seal an area ranging in size from about 30 to 40 square feet at a time. By the way, make sure to purchase 10 to 15 percent more sealer than is required by the instructions on the can. Once the first coat is dry bare spots will have to be touched up.
Once the touch work has been completed wait at least 36 hours for everything to dry. If temperatures are real hot you may have to wait two to three days. But, the wait will prove to be worth it.
Tennis courts and other critical gaming surfaces should be repaird by a professional.
For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.