Once you invest in an asphalt surface for your driveway or other paved area, you will need to take care and keep it well-maintained. Here are some recommendations to help you select and use the right tools and products for your repair and maintenance work.
As your asphalt ages, the sun and weather will break down the asphalt emulsion binders that hold the aggregate, or gravel, within the pavement. Asphalt gets a major part of its durability from the emulsion's ability to be flexible under the weight of vehicle traffic and during freeze and thaw cycles it may encounter. For this reason, it is important to add moisture to an aging and drying out asphalt surface and restore its surface moisture-repellent barrier with a seal coat layer every few years.
A seal coat is an tar emulsion that is spread over to coat the oxidized surface of your asphalt driveway to restore flexibility and fill crevices. You can seal and protect your asphalt surface by applying your own layer of seal coat, which you can buy by the bucket at most home improvement stores. As you pour the tar emulsion over your prepared asphalt, use a seal coat squeegee to smooth and level the seal coating. You can also hire an asphalt company to complete the work for you.
Between applications of a protective seal coat layer, it is necessary to watch the surface of your asphalt for any cracking, as this can quickly lead to holes and large areas of damage to its surface. When you encounter cracks, you can easily fill them with a liquid asphalt filler product. This type of asphalt filler comes in a tube or bottle with an attached nozzle tip to direct the flow of the filler directly into the crack in your asphalt.
Be sure to prepare the crack before filling it. This includes removing any vegetation, chunks of asphalt, rocks and other debris that can fill the crack and prevent the filler from properly patching the area. Use a broom, shop vac, or a pressure washer to remove all debris from cracks prior to filling them.
To repair potholes, you will need to buy cold mix asphalt repair patch, which is sold bagged at most home improvement stores. Just as repairing cracks, when you repair potholes you need to clean them of any vegetation, chunks of asphalt, and other debris.
Use a shovel to scoop it into your cleaned and prepared holes, and a hand tamp to compress the cold patch material as you fill the hole. It is important to compress as you fill to remove any air pockets which can cause the patch to fail.
Use these tips to select and use the right tools and products for your asphalt repair and maintenance. You can also talk with a driveway and freeway repair contractor for more help.