Improving Your Hardscaping

After I realized that our back porch was chipping apart, I decided that I needed to work a little harder to make things right. I started carefully analyzing the area, and I realized that the concrete needed to be completely removed and re-poured. I knew that asphalt work was beyond my comfort level, so I decided to call in a professional contractor to do the work. It was amazing to watch them work, and when they were finished our yard looked brand new. This blog is all about improving your hardscaping by replacing old, cracked, or discolored asphalt or concrete paving.

Repairing And Preventing Damage To An Asphalt Driveway

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Falling behind in driveway maintenance can cause serious problems. When you see sand start to appear in low spots in your driveway, this is a sign that the asphalt is starting to decompose. As the sand separates out of the asphalt mixture that makes up your driveway, the asphalt can get brittle. Cycles of heating and cooling will cause expansion and contraction in your driveway, which can cause cracking. If not treated, these cracks will lead to the formation of potholes. While you should take steps to protect your driveway before cracks and potholes start to from, when you see these potholes, it is time to get your act together and make repairs. 

Steps for Repairing Potholes

You don't need specialized training to make repairs, but a little know-how can go a long way:

1. The first thing you need to do is remove all lose and/or organic materials from the hole itself. 

2. You next need to use a chisel and mallet to break away any sections of asphalt that overhang the hole. Without proper support, these overhanging sections can lead to future cracking, which will cause your repair to fail. 

3. Once you have prepped the hole, fill it halfway with a pre-prepared patching compound. 

4. Tamp down the first application of the compound. 

5. Fill the hole until you have a mound sticking up about two inches above the surrounding asphalt. 

6. Tamp this down until it is even with the surrounding asphalt. You may need to cover the hole with a piece of plywood and then drive over it with a car to get it well-compacted. Proper compaction is the key to a permanent repair. 

Repairing a Crack in a Driveway

The procedure to fill a crack is slightly different than the procedure for repairing a pothole:

1. You will first want to remove any organic matter or loose material in the crack.

2. Fill a half-inch of the hole with a rubberized crack-filling compound.

3. Allow the first layer to set, then add another half-inch of compound.

4. Continue in this manner until you have filled the crack.

Preventing Further Damage

Once you have repaired all potholes and cracks in your driveway, you will want to take steps to prevent future damage. A sealcoat will seal out water and protect your driveway against UV damage. Thus, installing a sealcoat will give new life to an old driveway. 

Although you can probably repair potholes easily enough on your own, you should leave the sealcoat up to the professionals like those from Loflin's Paving. Little imperfections in a sealcoat can undermine the whole job, so you are left to leave the job in the hands of those who know what they are doing. A cracked driveway does not necessarily mean that you need a new driveway. In many cases, you can repair the new driveway and put off the expense of replacing it. 

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25 May 2015