How to seal and patch asphalt blacktop driveways

Protect your asphalt driveway with annual applications of petroleum based asphalt sealant. Ready-mixed sealants are available at building supply dealers in 5-gallon cans-enough to coat 200 to 300 square feet of drive. Sweep the drive clean, then pour sealant over one section of the drive at a time and spread it with a push broom. Apply a second coat within 48 hours. Fixing small cracks and holes Repair holes and cracks in your driveways as soon as they appear, preferably in warm or, better still, hot weather. Heat makes asphalt more malleable.

To repair narrow cracks, either squeeze in latex pavement-crack filler, or pack sand into the crack and apply driveway sealant. Pass a piece of lumber over the repair to smooth it.

Repair small holes and cracks wider than your finger with asphalt patching material, available at home centers and lumberyards in 50-pound bags. First, clean debris from the problem areas and probe the subsurface. Fill any voids in the foundation with crushed rock and tamp it down with a sledgehammer, 4 x 4, or other heavy object. Ladle asphalt patching into the crack or hole with a trowel. Tamp it down as you did the crushed rock. If the patching compacts below the surface, add more and tamp again. Crushed rock Making larger patches

Large holes and broken pavement indicate a problem in the foundation. Dig up loose and broken pavement, using a pickax, if necessary, and scoop out the loose gravel below to a depth of 6 inches. Fill the opening with crushed rock and compact it with a sledgehammer or a (rented) square head tamper. Leave enough space for the patching material. Pack the patching into the area and tamp it down until the new surface is level. Drive a car over the spot to pack it further. If a depression develops, add more patching. After any repair, apply two coats of sealant to the entire driveway.