Not only do cracks in your driveway make your home look shoddy, but they can also undermine the integrity of your asphalt. Thus, whenever cracks form, you need to take steps to repair the cracks before they lead to the need to replace your entire driveway. While you might think that all cracks are the same, you would be wrong. In order to make enduring repairs, you need to understand what type of cracks you are dealing with and what is required to make a repair.
Simply due to the heating and cooling cycles that your driveway is exposed to, your driveway may start to crack. Often cracks that result from heating and cooling will extend down the length of your driveway or across the width of your driveway. Thus, they are called longitudinal cracks. In order to repair such cracks, you need to first make sure that they are at least half-an-inch wide. If they are not half-an-inch wide, your joint-sealing compound will not work properly, so you will need to widen the cracks with a chisel and hammer. Next, remove all loose and/or organic material from the cracks. You can then fill the cracks with a rubberized joint compound. The rubber will allow for expansion and contraction and thus prevent further damage.
If you do nothing to repair longitudinal cracks, they may grow into block cracks, which divide your driveway into large sections or blocks. You can repair block cracks in the same way that you repair longitudinal cracks, but you should also apply a seal coat to protect your driveway against future damage.
If you don't repair block cracks, eventually crocodile cracks divide your driveway into small clumps of asphalt, which resemble the scales on a crocodile's back. If you have crocodile cracks in your driveway, you cannot simply fill the cracks with a joint compound. Instead, you have to remove the damaged section of driveway. If a large portion of your driveway has succumbed to crocodile cracks, then you will have no choice but to replace your driveway. As long as the damage is small, you can remove the damaged portion of your driveway and replace it with a patching compound.
Repairing a driveway is hard work, but it is not impossible. To get the most life from your driveway, you should repair cracks as soon as they form, but if you are slow to make repairs, you can still save your driveway as long as the damage is not too extensive. To prevent future cracks from forming, make your repairs and then cover your driveway with a sealcoat.
Contact an asphalt contractor for more information.