Homeowners with driveways may not give them a lot of thought but they need to be maintained. The good news about most driveways is that they can last a long time. When it is installed correctly and then maintained appropriately, your driveway can last between 25 and 50 years. When homeowners are considering the need for asphalt driveway repairs, there are several options. Small repairs can be made, the driveway can be resurfaced and, in more serious cases, a full driveway replacement may be needed.
How old is your driveway?
If you have a lot of potholes, cracks or divots and your driveway is more than 25 years old, you may have to face the fact that the time for asphalt driveway repairs has past and the time to replace the driveway has arrived. The components of the asphalt driveway will break down after being exposed to the elements for a number of years. Sometimes, you can do some repairs to expend the life of the driveway by a year or two but sometimes even that is not worth the effort.
When you can make asphalt driveway repairs.
You may not realize it but your driveway goes through a lot. You drive thousands pounds of metal over it. It has to contend with freeze-thaw cycles that strain the asphalt and cause cracks and breaks to appear. The constant expansion and contraction of water underneath the asphalt damages it. You will start to see this damage in the form of small cracks that can appear in the surface of the driveway. Another sign that you need to make asphalt driveway repairs will be the appearance of small divots in the driveway’s surface.
If you find divots or cracks that are small (less than a quarter of an inch wide) can be fixed easily with a liquid crack filler. They do not generally mean you have more extensive damage but tending to them before they grow will help you maintain the integrity of the driveway. If you find larger cracks (larger than one quarter inch), you can repair them the same way you do the smaller cracks but should be aware of the fact that they may indicate a larger and deeper problem. Patching the cracks may only be a temporary fix to the problem.
If you have potholes in your driveway, get a patching material from your local home improvement store. Fill the pothole with the material and then make it so the surface of the material is flush with the surface of the driveway. This is not going to a permanent solution to your problem as water can get into the space between the patching material and the asphalt of the driveway and will do further damage. If you have a lot of potholes or large cracks, you might want to look into a full driveway replacement. The patches will let you delay that but will not prevent it completely.
When you should look at driveway resurfacing.
If you have a lot of holes, cracks or divots in your driveway, you may be able to get the driveway contractor to resurface and not replace your driveway. What they do is basically remove the top layer of the driveway and replace that rather than taking the entire thing out and putting a new one in. This costs a lot less than doing a full driveway replacement and can be a good option if the damage is too much to just do basic asphalt driveway repairs like patching.
When you need a full driveway replacement.
Sometimes there are other factors beyond the state of the driveway that may determine if you need a full replacement. If you are looking to sell your home, you may want to make it look as good as possible and that will require you replace your driveway. If your main concern is the look of your driveway, replacing it is always going to look better than patching it. It all comes down to what is important to you and why you may need to make the driveway look its best.
Most homeowners do not spend a great deal of time thinking about their driveways but they do need to pay attention so they can keep them looking great.