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Repairing asphalt cracks
Animation Enhanced




Asphalt or black-top driveways are fairly common. While these driveways look nice when they are new, over time the asphalt will become faded and cracks will develop. Cracks and potholes form due to the freezing and thawing of snow and ice, weed or grass growth in small cracks, and general wear and tear. Regular maintenance will prevent the need to replace the existing driveway. The best way to begin is to repair any existing cracks or potholes. This is easy to do and requires up to a day to complete depending on the condition and size of your driveway.



• Beginner - 5 to 6 hours
• Intermediate - 4 to 5 hours
• Advanced - 3 to 4 hours

be sure that the temperature is above 50º to ensure that the filler seals properly.


be sure that you will have dry weather over the next couple days so that your filler dries properly.



To view a multimedia demonstration of this tutorial, click here.
The demonstration requires Macromedia Flash 4 player. If you don't already have it, click here to get it.



Begin to clean the crack by removing all loose dirt and chunks of asphalt with an awl or hook. If there are larger chunks of asphalt you can use a mallet and chisel to loosen them. (Make sure to wear eye protection.)


Use a broom or a stiff brush to remove small pieces of asphalt and dirt.


Then spray the crack with a garden hose using a spray attachment to remove any remaining debris. It is important to clean the crack well so that the patching material will adhere to it.


If there is oil in the crack, use detergent to scrub it out then rinse well.


Allow all surfaces to dry before continuing with the patching procedure.


Cracks that are less than 1/4 inch are generally filled with material that comes in a can or caulk gun tube. If you are using filler from a caulk container or tube, squeeze the filler into the crack until it begins to overflow. Then smooth it out using a metal or plastic scraper. It may be necessary to repeat this process to ensure that you are filling the crack completely.


If the filler comes in a can, mix the contents well with a clean paint stick.


Scoop some of the material out using a scraper and push it into the crack. Repeat this until the crack is overflowing and smooth the surface with the scraper. Repeat this process until the crack is completely filled.


Cracks that are larger than 1/2 inch must be filled with asphalt cold-patch which comes in bags or cans. Mix your material as the manufacturer recommends, and pour this material into the crack.


Cover the patch with some sand to keep the compound from sticking. Tamp the overfilled crack with a 4x4 post repeatedly until it is level with the rest of your driveway.


If you are filling a large crack you can tamp it by covering the area with some sand and a large piece of plywood. Then, drive over the plywood with your car a few times so that it becomes level with the rest of your driveway.


Allow the crack filler to dry completely. This may take 12 hours or more.


Watch the Animation

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Shopping List

Materials Needed



Household detergent or asphalt driveway cleaner (commercially available)



Asphalt crack filler and cold patch, there are a variety of different products that are specific for the size of the crack or pothole you need to fill. For example, you may need one filler for cracks up to 1/4 inch and another for cracks larger than 1/2 inch. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you are buying the best product for your needs.


Tools Needed



Gloves and safety glasses



Stiff brush



Garden hose with spray attachment






Edger, square shovel, or trimmer



Mallet and masonry chisel



Awl or hook (or other sharp tool)



Metal or plastic scraper (for smaller cracks)



Loose Sand



A 4x4 post, or something with which to tamp the patch (for larger cracks or potholes)*


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