A pothole in your driveway is more than a nuisance. If it isn't addressed quickly, the damage can spread until your entire driveway is in need of repair or replacement. Fortunately, potholes can be effectively patched if you follow the proper steps.
Step 1: Debris Removal
Loose gravel and other debris in the hole will prevent the patch from properly adhering. This is an easy problem to solve. Remove all of the gravel and debris down to the substrate or base material in the bottom of the hole. This includes any loose chunks of asphalt — do not try to use these as filler in a deep pothole as they will only serve to weaken the patch.
Step 2: Damage Assessment
Once the hole is clear, assess the extent of the damage. Some potholes are simply a hole, while others may have cracks radiating out from them. If there are cracks around your pothole you will need to clear out any debris that has collected inside of these as well. Once you know the extent of the damage you can determine the best method to patch.
Step 3: Base Rebuilding
Rebuild the base material or substrate at the bottom of the hole. Typically, paving gravel is used as a substrate. It is packed down well to create a firm base. Don't use just any gravel. You need a variety meant for use as a substrate material as it compacts easily into a firm base. Add just enough to bring the base level up to its previous level.
Step 4: Choose the Patch Materials
Use a hot asphalt to patch the pothole. Unlike cold patch asphalt, hot asphalt melts and bonds into the surrounding asphalt to create a permanent hold. You will also need an asphalt crack filler if there are cracks radiating out from the pothole. These fillers are a combination of flexible fillers and asphalt that will allow for expansion along the patch, which prevents future cracks from reappearing.
Step 5: Apply the Patch
Fill the hole until it is just above level with your hot patch asphalt. Then, use a metal tamping plate to firmly tamp down the patch into the hole. Add more asphalt as needed and tamp again until you have a level patch. Squeeze the crack filler into any cracks and then smooth the surface with your tamper.
Contact an asphalt patching professional, like Azzarelli Paving & Site Development, for more help with pothole repair and patching on your property.