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Instructions to Repair or Replace Your Asphalt Driveway

Have you ever noticed that when your driveway is in good repair, everyone in town, and their dogs, wants to use your driveway to turn around in? It seems there’s no driveway quite like yours. Asphalt driveways aren’t put in much anymore, and for good reason. Asphalt is a mixture of tar and gravel. Tar is heated to melting stage, gravel is mixed in and then poured into the designated area. It is spread basically, the same way as concrete. It smells terrible and is very dirty. Weather is very hard on asphalt, especially the heat. Heat will cause the asphalt to peel right up, especially if your driveway has much traffic.

Repairing an asphalt driveway can indeed be labor intensive; and the really bad thing about patching your asphalt driveway is, it will always look patched. There is just no way possible to match old and newer asphalt.

Some years back we lived in a house with an asphalt driveway. The driveway had a few pits in it, but I didn’t think it looked too bad. It just about drove my husband nuts! He is a bit of an “obsessive compulsive” and when something has holes or cracks in it, is when it is time to bring out the demolition crew.

I was not too keen about changing it thinking it would be mended manually but my husband was adamant that the asphalt was the best solution for the job and so I started looking up for the best asphalt sealer reviews online but before I could go through, he had a different plan.

What he did was, design a pattern for the driveway in which he took out parts of the asphalt to replace it with concrete and pebbles. It was kind of like a tic-tac-toe pattern. We made a few trips to the river to gather the pebbles that we wanted for the task, and then picked our start day for the new driveway.

My husband and I, and one of our sons worked together on this, and believe it or not we had the hard part done in less than a day. My husband had marked the areas that he wanted to take out with chalk. He rented a jack-hammer, and he and our son broke-up, and picked up asphalt pieces and put into the back of the pick-up to take to the dump, while I went behind them with a hammer and chisel to smooth out the lines.

We have a small cement mixer so we didn’t have to rent one. My husband would mix and pour the cement, our son would smooth it out, and I would push in the pebbles just where we thought they would look the best. If you can get a good work crew together, that works well together, you can have a job like this done in no time at all.

The really nice thing about giving a face-lift to our asphalt driveway, such as this; is we didn’t have to replace the whole thing, and it really looked great. It didn’t matter that the asphalt was old and the cement was new. Because they were totally different materials, they blended together well.

If the damage to your asphalt driveway is severe enough, and if finances allow; follow the same procedure we did with the jack-hammer and take out the entire driveway, set your frame, and you’re good to go for pouring a new driveway; that is not asphalt.

Jaime London is a writer, contributor, editor and a photographer. He started his career as an editorial assistant in a publishing company in Chicago in 2009.