Repairing Driveways

crack in cement

My driveway has cracks. How can this be repaired?

Thanks for asking Mr. Handyman, Neil. You are wise to want to repair these cracks as soon as possible. With winter’s freeze/thaw conditions, driveway cracks can become progressively worse. This will increase the cost of repair if left untreated. During the summer it becomes a battle keeping all sorts of weeds from growing in these cracks. Weeds just love to grow in the driveway or walkway cracks. In time, the roots enlarge the damage too.

If the driveway is fairly new and the cracks appear, there could be some other underlying problem. A good driveway will have a layer of gravel under it called a substrate, often four inches or more. This helps to drain away standing ground water. In the winter, the water underneath, if not drained will freeze, causing the cracks. In this case, whatever you do now to fix the cracks will not last long. If your driveway has poor drainage, the only correct fix is to replace it by adding gravel.

As in many repairs, careful preparation and patience will mean the difference between success and failure. To repair small or narrow cracks (less than 1/2”) clean out any sand and debris that has accumulated. This is best accomplished using a garden hose with a pressure nozzle. When the area is dry, apply high-quality asphalt filler that comes in a can or a caulking gun tube. Read and follow the directions on whatever product you purchase. Remember also to buy a small can of paint thinner if the product you choose is not latex. This is used to clean tools after you have finished. If you are using filler from a can, use a trowel to spread and fill the crack. With material from a caulking gun, squeeze as much as you can into the crack, add some more, and trowel it even with the original asphalt top. Allow the filler to dry from 12 to 24 hours before driving on it.

If the crack is ½” or wider, chop out any loose material. This is done by using a pick axe, hammer, and cold chisel. As stated above, remove sand, weeds, or debris from the crack and add gravel to the substrate if needed. You will be using what is called cold patch to fill the area. Depending on the size of the area to be filled, use a shovel or garden spade to fill the crack. Tamp down the material and then add more material as needed. To tamp it down use a 4” x 4” x 8” board. The board works well and saves you the cost of buying a tamper. Compact it until the cold patch is even with the driveway. Let the cold-patch cure for 24 to 36 hours before driving on it.

Mr. Handyman's technicians hold years of experience dealing with projects like this. If you feel unsure about being a do-it-yourself person, just give us a call and say “Help,” and help will be there, “ON TIME.” You can also take comfort knowing that the work will be, “DONE RIGHT,” with 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

If you decide to have Mr. Handyman visit you, our experienced techs would be able to help you with this and any other projects you wish to have done. No job is too small.
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