How to Repair a Driveway

Driveways are under constant attack from weeds, sun, rain, vehicles, old age and general wear and tear. If you have an asphalt driveway, it may at first seem difficult to repair, as asphalt is normally applied hot when new.

However, you can repair asphalt (often misspelled ashfelt) with paint on bitumen products that you apply cold. Cement and concrete can also be used for bigger repairs. You can match the original textured finish, by adding similar sized aggregate (stones) to the bitumen and cement as necessary.

How to Repair a Driveway
How to Repair a Driveway
Note:
  • An area repaired with concrete can be painted with bitumen to match the existing asphalt driveway.
  • The image above shows a freshly painted (with bitumen) asphalt driveway. As with all asphalt driveways, the colour is at first dark, but lightens with age.
Topics:
Common Driveway Defects:
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Tools & Materials Required:

Tools:

  • A broom.
  • A power washer (preferred), or a hose with spray attachment.
  • Paint brushes, roller or an old soft broom (these should be throw away items).
  • Brushes should be stored in water (for water-soluble bitumen).
How to Repair a Driveway - Storing Your Brush When Painting With Bitumen
How to Repair a Driveway – Storing Your Brush When Painting With Bitumen

Materials:

  • Bitumen Paint.
  • Aggregate (small stones). Applied as necessary.
  • Cement (optional). For bigger repairs.

Repair & Maintain a Driveway – The Different Types of Repair:

Most driveways at some point suffer from weeds, cracks, holes, subsidence and wear. It may seem daunting at first, as the driveway ages and starts to break up and turn to gravel. The secret to prolonging the life of an asphalt driveway is easy preventive maintenance, restoring it to its former glory, and not letting it deteriorate…

Refreshing the Driveway (Loose Stones, Old Age Wear & Tear):

As an asphalt driveway ages, the stone chippings start to lift, the driveway wears and can start to break up, turning it into loose gravel. As moss starts to grow, this further accelerates the process.

The Repair (and Preventative Maintenance):

An asphalt driveway consists of 5% asphalt and 95% aggregates (stone, sand and gravel). Bitumen paint can be used to prevent the stone chippings from lifting, gluing the stones back into place and filling all the small gaps that have started to appear. To repair, we need to:

  • Clean.
  • Paint.
  • and Restore.

For a more detailed account on how to go about this, please read my article on How to Repair Asphalt – Painting (Old Age, Wear and Tear):

Weeds:

As an asphalt driveway ages, cracks and holes can start to appear. These cracks and holes start to fill with dirt and debris, and seeds from weeds start to grow.

The Repair (and Preventative Maintenance):

The weeds need to be removed and the holes filled to prevent more weeds appearing.

  • Attempt to kill the weeds (weedkiller, etc).
  • Dig out any roots if you can.
  • Clean, paint and restore.

For a more detailed account on how to go about this, please read my article on How to Repair Asphalt – Weeds:

Cracks and Holes:

Cracks and holes can appear, as the driveway settles with age. Old weeds that have since died off can leave cracks and holes. Roots can cause the tarmac surface to expand and crack.

The Repair (and Preventative Maintenance):

The area needs to be cleaned and inspected. If there is no obvious cause, fill the holes and cracks with bitumen, to prevent weeds taking root. It will also prevent the edges breaking up and deteriorating further. For bigger cracks and holes, mix some aggregate (stones) in with the bitumen.

  • Clean and inspect.
  • Remove any ‘root’ causes.
  • Paint and restore.
  • Add some small stones for the bigger holes.

For a more detailed account on how to go about this, please read my article on How to Repair Asphalt – Cracks and Holes:

Subsidence and Overloading:

Subsidence and overloading can have many causes. Heavy traffic, vehicles parked repeatedly in the same spot, ground movement, water erosion, etc. This can lead to unevenness in the driveway, water collecting, the surface breaking up, (or breaking away if it is near an edge).

The Repair (and Preventative Maintenance):
  • Examine the area to decide the cause?
  • Is the ground stable, is it getting any worse?
Stable Ground:

If the ground is stable, you can start to fill the dip or hole.

Unstable Ground:

If it is unstable, you need to prevent any further deterioration before filling the hole. This may involve building a wall to support the ground, or digging out the hole and backfilling with a more stable material (stone, rubble, concrete, etc).

Filling the Hole:

Clean the area to provide good adhesion around the edge of the hole. Dependant on its size, fill with concrete, or bitumen mixed with stones.

  • Stabilise the ground.
  • Fill with concrete or bitumen (mixed with aggregate).
  • Paint and restore, blending in the edges.

For a more detailed account on how to go about this, please read my article on How to Repair Asphalt – Subsidence and Overloading:


How to Repair Asphalt – Weeds:

How to Repair a Driveway - Weeds
Weeds can be a real pain. They will often grow around the edge of driveways (where there is a join). Or, in any cracks that have appeared. A ‘self seeded’ […]

How to Repair Asphalt – Cracks and Holes:

How to Repair a Driveway - Two Holes and a Crack
Cracks in a driveway may be caused by roots growing underneath the driveway and causing the ground to expand. They may also be caused by: Weeds.Subsidence and Overloading. The holes […]

How to Repair Asphalt – Painting (Old Age, Wear and Tear):

How to Repair a Driveway - Painting on Bitumen (Featured Image)
Over time, as an asphalt driveway ages, small stones in the asphalt become dislodged. The asphalt can loose its ability to hold together and can start to break up. Dirt […]

How to Repair Asphalt – Subsidence and Overloading:

How to Repair a Driveway - Using a watered down first coat as a primer. This helps everything stick
Subsidence: Subsidence is often where the surface below the asphalt is weakened by: Erosion.Or, the ground (substrate) under the asphalt covering, will not support the load. I.e. The ground does […]