All winter, your driveway battled the ice and snow while still providing you with a path to and from your home. While you may think the damages caused by the winter elements are over, you should think again. As the warmer weather that comes with spring thaws the ground, new cracks may emerge. Why is this? Let’s take a look.
During the winter, if water seeped below the surface of your asphalt driveway, you likely experienced frost heaves whether you noticed them or not. Frost heaves occur when water permeates through parts of your driveway and freeze, causing the water to expand, and the ground above to shift upwards. This can create cracks. But how does this relate to the spring? As the ice beneath your driveway thaws, the ground retracts. Now, places that were once pushed upwards are pulled down, creating bigger cracks, divots and even potholes.
If your driveway does suffer from frost heaves, you should contact a professional. They have the experience to detect the root cause and location of the problem. They can fix your damaged foundation level to ensure next year’s freeze and thaw cycle does not crack your driveway. However, that can be an expensive option. If you would just like to fix the cracking, your local hardware store likely has the equipment you need. For small cracks, under ½-inch, you just need a caulk gun and crack filler. Once the crack has dried, thoroughly clean it out. This is important as loose chunks of driveway or dirt can affect how well your filler adheres to the sides of the crack. Apply your filler, per the manufacturer’s directions, to the crack. If the filler bubbles over the driveway, use a putty knife to smooth it and make it even with the asphalt. Allow the filler to dry as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. If you notice it has settled below the lip of the driveway after it has dried, apply a second layer, smooth out, and allow to dry once more.
If you want to prevent future cracking, sealing your asphalt driveway is the best way to do so. Driveway sealant is a waterproof layer that will help to fill pores, protect crack repairs, and stop water before it seeps in. It also helps to prevent oxidation and corrosion caused by the sun’s UV rays and oxygen.