Back to the Basics – DIY

How to Repair Cracks in Your Asphalt or Concrete Driveway

Repairing cracks in driveway asphalt

Cracks not only make your driveway look unattractive and unkempt, if left unattended, they can eventually grow and cause the driveway to crumble. Whether you have an asphalt or concrete driveway, the more proactive you are at catching and repairing cracks, the longer your driveway will last without the need for expensive resurfacing. Find small load ready mix concrete near me.

Step 1: Inspect the Driveway

Before you begin, inspect your driveway to see what damage exists and what materials you’ll need. Any cracks wider than hairline should be measured with a ruler or tape measure to determine what materials you will need to make adequate repairs (See Step 4). Put on old clothes, shoes and protective gloves before starting any work.

Use a weed-removing tool, a lawn edger or a spade to scrape away any grass or weeds that may be in cracks in the driveway’s surface. For concrete driveways, use a hammer and mason’s chisel to chip away at any soft or crumbled concrete in and around the cracks or crumbling areas. Concrete cracks must be chiseled so that the crack is wider below the surface than on the top. Clean with a stiff wire brush to dislodge and remove all loose particles from the edges of small holes and any large cracks. Then use a stiff push broom to remove dirt and debris from the driveway. You can also blast away loose material with water from a garden hose or with air from an air compressor.


Wear eye protection (safety glasses) when removing debris to protect your eyes against debris.

For best results, scrub your entire driveway with a diluted driveway cleaner and a stiff brush to remove stubborn dirt and oil spots.


Consider wearing kneepads — this job requires quite a bit of kneeling.

Step 2: Wash the Driveway

Hose the driveway with as much pressure as possible. Consider renting a power washer. Work from the center out to the sides or from one side to another. Start uphill, too, so the dirt won’t wash back onto the cleaned area.

Hose the driveway until it’s completely wet and then sprinkle a thin layer of environmentally safe detergent. Use a stiff brush or push broom to work the detergent into the surface. Then hose the driveway again until the water runoff is clear. Let it dry completely.

Step 3: Remove Remaining Debris

Use a shop vacuum to remove any remaining dirt from the cracks to be filled. These must be very clean and dry before filling. Don’t use compressed air for this step or the dirt will blow out of the crack and onto your just cleaned driveway.

Step 4: Fill/Repair Cracks

Fill/Repair Asphalt Driveway Cracks

For asphalt driveways, choose a water-based acrylic filler/sealer. You can expect to cover 300 to 500 sq. ft. per five gallons of sealer, depending on the general condition of the driveway and if it has been sealed previously. For best results, use filler/sealers that fill cracks up to 1/8″ wide and look for crack fillers that have rubberized asphalt emulsion. For cracks less than 1/8″, use crack filler in pourable squeeze bottles. Squeeze the liquid into the crack filling the crack completely.

For cracks up to ½”, use crack filler packaged in no-mess cartridges for a caulking gun or in pourable squeeze bottles. Squeeze the caulking gun trigger steadily as you pull the tip along the crack. If using pourable filler, fill the crack and smooth away excess with a putty knife. Be sure to keep the filler in the crack, not on the driveway surface.

For cracks ½” to 2″ wide, fill the crack with non-porous foam backer rod material before applying crack filler.

For potholes or cracks wider than 2″, you’ll need to do a little more repair. Shovel packaged cold-patch blacktop into the well-cleaned hole, and then use an iron rake to level the patch. Use a cold chisel and a hand-drilling hammer to undercut the edges so the hole is wider at the bottom than it is at the driveway surface. This will lock in the patch once it has been compacted.

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