If you have an asphalt driveway, you may have noticed that you get more potholes in winter than at other times of the year. Knowing why this happens and what you can do about it can help you preserve your driveway and prevent this from happening again in the future.
Why does your asphalt driveway get more potholes in winter?
Your asphalt driveway likely gets more potholes in winter than at other times of the year because of the amount of precipitation your community gets and because of the freeze/thaw cycles that take place at this time of year.
Your driveway absorbs water from winter snow and rain through tiny pores and cracks in the asphalt. This water pools under the asphalt. If the temperature outside falls below freezing and stays cold enough for long enough, the water under the driveway freezes and expands, causing the asphalt above to crack. When the asphalt cracks, chunks of the driveway can fall out, causing potholes to form.
What can you do to fix the potholes?
You can fix the potholes on your own by purchasing driveway patching compound. To install the patch, start by cleaning out the pothole. Use a wire scrub brush to remove weeds from inside the pothole, then brush out the dirt and spray down the pothole with a strong jet of water from a hose.
Wait for the pothole to dry, then fill the pothole with blacktop patching compound. When you're finished, lay a board over the patch and drive slowly over the board with a vehicle. This will help flatten and compress the patch. Remove the board over the patch and allow the patch to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.
What can you do to prevent more potholes in your driveway?
You can prevent more potholes from forming by repairing cracks in the asphalt on a regular basis. Crack filler is available for sale at hardware stores and home improvement centers. To install crack filler, clean the cracks using the same process you used to clean the potholes, then fill each crack with a bead of crack filler. Squeegee over the crack filler so it flattens on the driveway, then allow the filler the time to dry.
You can also prevent potholes from forming by seal coating the driveway on a regular basis. Seal coating is required every two years, or when the driveway stops repelling water during rainstorms. To seal coat your driveway, you'll fill the cracks, patch the holes, then spread seal coat over the top of the asphalt and use a squeegee to spread the seal coat around. The driveway is sealed when the material dries. Completing these tasks prevents the driveway from absorbing water, thus preventing damage from freeze/thaw cycles.
For more information, or for help making these repairs to your driveway, contact an asphalt repair person. He or she will be able to seal coat your driveway and repair cracks and patches as needed.