Asphalt is a deceptive building material. It looks and feels much like a solid piece of conglomerate rock; on the other hand, nothing more than the gently falling rays of the sun can destroy an asphalt slab if given enough time. If you have an asphalt driveway, pathway, or pad around your home, then you need to learn how to make repairs in order to get the most life from it.
A crack in an asphalt slab is not hard to repair as long as you know what you are doing:
1. Use a hoe to remove any plants growing in the crack. While you should not have to worry about plants growing through your repair job, the void they create as they decompose can undermine the integrity of your patch.
2. Use a pressure washer to remove any loose material in the crack.
3. Use a rubberized joint-filling compound to repair the crack. It is important that you find a rubberized compound because the rubber will allow the patch to flex as your driveway expands and contracts with changes in the temperature.
4. Fill the crack halfway, then wait half an hour before filling the crack the rest of the way.
5. Give the compound a day to cure before you drive on it.
Repairing a pothole requires more work than repairing a crack, but it should still be in the range of the average homeowner. Use these the following steps:
1. Remove any plants growing in the pothole.
2. Scoop out all lose material.
3. If you have any overhanging edges of asphalt, break them off with a chisel and mallet so that you can properly compact your repair.
4. Depending on the depth of the pothole, you may wish to fill it within four inches of the top surface of your asphalt slab with sand. Make sure you thoroughly compact the sand before continuing.
5. Fill your pothole with a pothole patching compound which should consist of a mixture of pebbles and quick-set asphalt.
6. Use a tamping rod to compact this first layer.
7. Fill the pothole, the rest of the way, and mound it up about an inch above the surrounding asphalt.
8. Use a tamping rod to compact your patch until it is level with its surroundings.
As you can see, you do not need a lot of specialized equipment to repair asphalt. If you don't have a pressure washer, you may be able to borrow one, and if not, you can rent one. From there, any homeowner with a strong back should be able to make repairs. On the other hand, if you don't feel up to making your own repair for whatever reason, you can always hire a local asphalt contractor to make quality repairs for you. Ranaldi Inc is an asphalt contractor.
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