Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Repair Your Paved Driveway Before Winter

I meant to post this story/tip a month ago on Works For Me Wednesday (WFMW) but I got sidetracked by more fun topics.

Our Story
Five years ago, we unknowingly allowed an incredibly dishonest contractor to come in and blacktop our driveway. Naturally, he disappeared off the face of the earth and had all his phones disconnected long before we realized our how much he had shortchanged us in material and workmanship. We learned through that experience and paid for it dearly. Check, check, and recheck those references! But that's all spilt milk.

Presently, we're saving up to have it redone right. In the mean time, we do what we can to preserve the sad job he left us with. Each fall, we pick out the worst of the cracks and repair them before winter. If we don't, the water gets down in there, freezes, and opens the cracks further. Crack filler is O.K., but what we do is by far a more enduring fix, especially if there is still some tar left in the blacktop.

Normally, it is best to get repairs done in the late summer while the weather is still hot. But it's not too late to do some repairs before the really cold weather comes--the sooner the better.

Our tip
Use a propane torch to thoroughly heat the pavement along the crack, and then tamp it down hard to mend it back together. Spraying a little diesel fuel on the tools keeps the blacktop from sticking to them. For the smaller cracks, this is all we need to do.

For larger cracks, we use broken pieces of blacktop from other areas (unfortunately there are plenty), or add some cold patch to fill in the gaps. I lay small pieces along the top of the crack, and my husband then goes along and heats it for a while. When it is good and hot (you'll see it starting to smoke) he tamps the pieces down into the cracks. The heat softens both the patch material, and the existing road surface enough that they can be pressed together into a new smooth surface. This is pretty satisfying, by the way! (I know, I really need to get out more!)

If you have very large patches of cracked and loose pavement, it might be best to rent a saw designed for the abuse and "clean cut" back to solid pavement. Remove loose debris, and pack cold patch into the hole.

You can always use some sealer when you're done if it's still warm enough. For sealer, typically, the temps need to be above 50 for a day or two for it to cure properly.

By doing these basic repairs ourselves, we've prolonged the life of our drive and bought some more time to save up. We get most of our supplies at Rural King, but any home improvement store should have all you need.

Just something my husband and I have learned along life's bumpy road. Sorry, couldn't I resist!

1 comment:

Christina said...

Hehe, I love the pun. ; )