What are the Best Tips for Patching a Driveway?

Keith Koons

Patching a driveway is a fairly straightforward project that the average homeowner can complete without hiring a professional as long as certain precautionary steps are completed beforehand. Although there are many types of driveways, such as brick, concrete, asphalt, or even stone, each of them is repaired in a similar fashion. After purchasing the proper materials and thoroughly cleaning the damaged area, the driveway simply needs to be filled in, packed down, and smoothed out. Even though many contractors may state that these tasks are highly technical and sometimes dangerous, most of these types of projects are very easy to complete and require less than an hour’s worth of time.

A cracked concrete driveway.
A cracked concrete driveway.

Concrete driveways may be the most difficult to patch because the entire area is one solid mass, and for small chips and cracks, most of the work involved is actually in the preparation. For patching a driveway in this state, the damaged areas actually need to be chipped out so that the concrete has enough room to set, and this can be accomplished with a jackhammer, a pry bar, or even a hammer and chisel. Once the area is large enough to fill with concrete, individuals can simply mix the solution and then evenly pour it into the damaged area. With a piece of lumber or any hard, flattened surface, they can rake it across the area so that the concrete is packed inward and smoothed as much as possible—they can then go over it a second time with a trowel.

Asphalt driveways are relatively easy to repair.
Asphalt driveways are relatively easy to repair.

Asphalt driveways are much easier to repair. When patching a driveway of this type, users can purchase an asphalt mix from a local hardware store and follow the instructions on the bag to prepare it. Once it is ready, individuals can pour it over the damaged area and smooth it out as evenly as possible. For resurfacing an asphalt driveway, liquid tar can be purchased and dumped across the entire surface and then evened out with a roller.

Brick driveways require similar preparation to concrete parking areas since the same types of ingredients are used. After chipping out the excess filler around the damaged areas, individuals can place the new bricks in place and then pour the concrete around them. Individuals can use a trowel and a grouter to reestablish the grout lines and wipe off the bricks before the concrete dries.

Individuals should remember when patching a driveway of any kind that the materials will set fairly fast on a hot afternoon, and this process begins as soon as the substances are no longer being mixed. For larger projects, it may be necessary to mix the concrete or asphalt in several small batches, and only one specific area should be worked on at any given time. If the materials are dumped in place and harden before being smoothed out, the only fix is usually to chip them out and start all over again. Individuals should avoid attempting this project when it is either too hot or cold outdoors, since the materials will not set as expected.

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