At EastCoat Pavement, we primarily focus our business on commercial paving and parking lot maintenance, but we also understand the need for available education on residential driveway paving and driveway repair. When it comes to any sort of asphalt upkeep, regular maintenance is absolutely key in getting the most out of your driveway.
Some problems can be easily addressed on your own over the course of an afternoon or a weekend with materials readily available at your local home center, but other problems may require more attention and possibly even a professional.
Some common driveway problems are:
- Oil stains
- Deterioration or sink holes in high traffic areas (where you consistently park your car) or the edges of your driveway
Before performing any sort of driveway repair you will need to take stock of the situation and prepare your driveway. This includes things like removing dust and dirt, removing vegetation or weeds, clearing the driveway of cars and other belonging, and planning for alternate parking. You should get a rough idea of the size and scope of problems, like potholes or cracks, especially if you plan on doing it yourself. You’ll need a rough idea of how much materials you will need to purchase for the job.
Once you’ve prepared your driveway for the repairs, the next steps will differ depending on your specific pavement flaws.
If your driveway has potholes or missing asphalt, patching these problems will be your first and most important step. In most DIY scenarios, cold asphalt patches can be used to fill holes or broken areas. While this is a solution, it is a temporary one at best, and cannot be expected to last very long in most applications. If you have large areas that need replacing, then cold patching is not a cost effective or practical solution. A qualified driveway contractor should be able to saw cut and remove the affected areas and replace them with new hot mix asphalt, this is known as ‘saw cut patching’ and is a much longer lasting driveway repair. If done correctly, and under the right conditions, saw cut patching could be considered a ‘permanent’ asphalt driveway repair.
Pavement issues often stem from minor cracks or flaws that were not taken care of and/or the lack of asphalt maintenance. Water is the most detrimental element to your pavement, specifically when it reaches the base layer. By filling cracks, you are reducing the possibility of the cracks getting larger and water penetrating the base layer. There are a number of different types of cracks to look out for, but generally speaking, if the cracks are isolated, structural cracks (i.e. a single crack running across the width of the driveway) then there may be a DIY crack filling solution similar to a latex caulk that can remain effective for several months-to a year. However, if you have more than a 50 feet of asphalt cracks, or your cracks are wider than a quarter inch, you may be better off finding a professional to apply a hot rubberized crack filling product. Based on research, we recommend treating cracks every couple of years to extend the life of the pavement.
Oil spots on your asphalt pavement can lead to driveway deterioration. Depending on the extent of the damage, your repairs for oil stains may vary. If the oil has not yet caused damages to your pavement you can likely just remove the oil using absorbents or cleaning agents. If you are getting your pavement seal coated, removing the oil first is extremely important because the sealcoating will not adhere properly to the surface where oil is present. In our experience, even using an oil spot primer prior to sealcoating is not 100% effective. Severely damaged oil spots will need to be cut out and removed if removal has proven ineffective.
If you have specific wearing at the edges of your pavement or in common tire track areas, like where you park each day, patching repair methods will likely be necessary. Once tire ruts have formed, they provide a low spot where water may settle depending on the slope and pitch of the driveway. These areas need to be brought back to level with saw cut patching before the pavement deterioration escalates.
When it comes to driveway repairs, regular maintenance is key. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, don’t let small problems get out of hand. Driveways can be expected to last 20-30 years if installed using appropriate methods and if maintained on a regular basis using the guidelines presented here. Do you have a business, church or condominium parking lot that needs work? Don’t hesitate to contact us at EastCoat Pavement for a consultation.