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Patch, Repair, or Resurface? Your Complete Guide to Asphalt Driveways

You’re driving over your driveway in the dead of winter when all of a sudden you feel a bump, almost like you ran over a hole. You get out and notice that one of the few cracks in your driveway finally gave away. This may not have happened if you had just patched it up before it got that bad. 

The truth is, there is a fine line between the need to patch or resurface asphalt driveways and the need to just repair the entire thing. Keep reading for a guide on what type of fix is right for your driveway and if you can just do it yourself.

1. Reasons Why You May Need Repairs

To understand how to fix your driveway you, you need to first understand what type of damage warrants repairs. 

Winter Weather

With Winter comes constant freezing and warming cycles. Pair this with the fact that several tons of metal goes across it every day and trouble is bound to happen. It will start with small cracks that will slowly expand into larger ones. 

You can fill the cracks that happen from this sort of damage and that will usually hold it as long as you catch them when they are still small. 

The Age of the Driveway

Nothing lasts forever, over time the natural elements will cause asphalt to wear down and fall apart. If your driveway is more than 20 years old than it’s time to just replace the entire thing. 

If you try to patch an old driveway, the fix won’t last for very long at all and you’ll probably just end up sinking more money into a cheap repair. 

Curb Appeal  

Repairing damages, for this reason, is more for aesthetics and less for actual damages. Most people just have the entire thing replaced or use resurfacing to restore their driveway.

It makes it easier to sell the house later and just makes it look better in your neighborhood. Some cities actually require that you do things like repairing a driveway or cut your grass to keep up appearances. It all depends on what sort of neighborhood you live in. 

2. Patch

Patching is not only simple, but it’s also the cheapest solution for your driveway. If you just have a tiny crack you can fill it with a basic crack filling compound. This method works for ones that are only about a quarter-inch thick. 

If the crack is larger than that it means that there is likely worse damage beneath the surface of the asphalt. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be saved, it just means that you have to do a little surface patching. Unfortunately, using this method to fix these larger holes will most likely only be a temporary solution. 

The Process 

The process for surface patches is pretty simple. The broken bits of asphalt is removed, the area is cleaned, and new asphalt is laid down. Again, for basic cracks, it’s just going to get filled with crack filling compound.

You may want to leave the surface patching to professionals but you can probably fill basic cracks yourself. 

3. Resurface 

If you have severe cracks or even just a few moderate ones that are larger than a quarter-inch thick than you may want to consider resurfacing your driveway rather than just patching it. This will last longer than patching and is just more reliable in general.

Also, no matter how good a patch job is done, you’ll still be able to visibly tell that you’ve gotten the driveway patched. It doesn’t exactly do wonders for your curb appeal. So, if this matters more to you than saving a bit of cash, you may want to go with the resurfacing option. 

The Process 

The areas of your driveway that are damaged are filled and evened out to create a smooth surface. A new layer of asphalt is put down and a roller is used to even the new layer out. 

As you can see, you’ll probably need to get a repair company to do this job. It’s more expensive than a patch but less expensive than just tearing the driveway up and starting over. 

4. Repair

To repair is to start over. You may need to do this if the foundation beneath your asphalt is weakened and the damage is too extensive. It’s also a wise option if your driveway is fairly old. 

Repairing is like turning back the clock on not only your driveway but also your home in general. It makes everything look younger which is not only good for curb appeal but adds sell value as well. 

The Process 

The repair involves a contractor coming in and completely removing the asphalt. After that, the base of the foundation is filled and then leveled to create an even surface. Lastly, a new layer of asphalt is put down on the leveled foundation. 

This is the most expensive option but again good if you plan on selling your house or the damage in your driveway is just super intense. You can go here to learn more about how a contractor can help you with this process. 

Fixing Common Issues with Asphalt Driveways

Asphalt Driveways don’t last forever. Sometimes the Winter elements cause cracks to happen, it could just be old, or maybe you simply want to fix it up for curb appeal. Use this guide on fixing your asphalt driveway to determine if it would be best for you to patch it, resurface it, or have it repaired. 

Are you having your driveway redone at your commercial property as part of a remodel? Keep reading to find out what questions you should be asking first.