If your asphalt blacktop driveway is old and has plenty of alligator cracks or potholes, then it’s a high time you considered having your driveway resurfaced using fresh asphalt. This article takes a detailed look at the processing of doing your own asphalt repairs.

Common asphalt driveway issues

Firstly, let’s look at the major problems associated with an asphalt driveway.

  • Potholes: These are basically pieces of asphalt that are missing from the asphalt driveway. It literally forms a hole ranging from a few inches to a couple feet in diameter in the driveway.
  • Alligator cracks: These are a cluster of smaller cracks that resembles a spider web or the scales of alligators.
  • Bird baths and sink holes: These are sections of asphalt that have physically sunk into the ground due to a major ground settling. They are either created by an inadequately constructed asphalt base or by the fact that the base is washed away over the duration of time and strong heat has warmed the asphalt driveway enough that it shapes to the absent base foundation.

Process of asphalt repair

What you will need:

  • Asphalt patch
  • Asphalt tamper
  • Flat head shovel/garden rake


  1. Clean the asphalt driveway. Thoroughly clean the damaged repair section and ensuring that it is clean from debris, dust, water, vegetation or whatever that might prevent the fresh asphalt layer from bonding with the existing asphalt. A bristled room or pressure washer could be used.
  2. Inspect the size of the potholes. Next, inspect whether the potholes, cracks or depressions traverse all the way to the base of the asphalt layer. For deeper holes, the base is filled with an aggregate consisting of sand, dirt or gravel.
  3. Fill the hole with the asphalt patch. Once the hole is prepared, take the asphalt bitumen and pour it into the pothole. Make certain that you overfill the pole by a further 1 or 2 inches above surface level. Using either a garden rake or a flat head shovel spread the asphalt material over deeper potholes.
  4. Pound the asphalt material. Once the potholes are overfilled with asphalt material, use an asphalt tamper to pound the material in a bid to make it compact. This technique seeks to flatten down the asphalt material into the depression and stops it from easily breaking much later on. If the previous overfill isn’t enough, you may add additional asphalt material to fill up the hole and ensure it is level.
  5. Pound a little more. The essence is to make the asphalt patch a lot more compact inside the pothole so that it can hold up much better later on. Repeat the entire process for all the other depressions in your driveway.
  6. Allow it to dry. Deeper potholes will require further dry time.