DIY Projects

How to Fill Asphalt Cracks

If you’re looking to fill asphalt cracks yourself, be prepared for a little bit of prep work and a small amount of physical labour to fill all your cracks.

If you're looking to fill asphalt cracks yourself, be prepared for a little bit of prep work and a small amount of physical labour to fill all your cracks.

To fill asphalt cracks, you’re going to want to plan a course of action before heading out to the hardware store and buying whatever products you see.  We did that (the whole not-planning thing) and I figured I would share with you the different options to fill asphalt cracks so you can avoid our mistakes!

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The main thing will be to identify what types of cracks you have, for example, what size (width + depth) they are, and also how many (length) you have.  Also pay attention to any low spots (easiest to notice right after it rains, if there are puddles that are always in the same area).  All of this will determine which asphalt filling product(s) you need to purchase.

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Surface Preparation

A while before you begin, (maybe when you are identifying the cracks) you’ll want to make sure all the weeds in the cracks are removed.  I had the Husband spray some Round Up at least a week before we planned on tackling the cracks.

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Right before you fill your cracks, you’ll also want to clean them out using a Shop Vac.

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You could attempt to brush them out with a broom, but I find the vacuum does a much better job.  (Also, if your weeds are really dried out, ie: from the weed killer, they actually vacuum up really easily!).

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Here is a quick overview of a few different products you can use to fill asphalt cracks:

Caulk-Style Filler (for medium sized cracks)

The first asphalt crack sealer we tried came in a tube form (like the concrete sealer we used a few weeks ago).

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It said it was good for cracks up to 3/8″, and once again the Husband filled the crack and I spread it out with my glove-covered finger.

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We managed to fill about a 10′ crack section before the crack filler ran out… and at that rate we would have needed over 10 more tubes to fill all the driveway cracks!

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We also had a large hole in that same section (clearly over 3/8″ large) that we avoided with the caulk-style filler.

Pot Hole Filler (for big holes)

In the garage we had a tub of pot hole filler for driveways.  I was probably most familiar with this stuff, because I remember my Papa using it in our driveway when I was younger.  Basically, it’s a rock filled tar substance that you squish down into your large holes.

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I scooped out a big clump and tried tamping it down and levelling it off as good as possible.  The tub even mentions driving overtop of the filled section, but I didn’t do that.

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This stuff is really good for large holes, but those rocks are too large for the majority of the cracks in our driveway.  It would have been a big hassle to try and squish those little rocks into the small cracks.

Anyways, this pot hole filler had also been left in the garage for a few winters, and I’m not sure if you were supposed to protect it from freezing or not (which we clearly hadn’t done).

Note: there is also a more liquidy large area filler that comes in a tub.  You would use this stuff (I’m assuming it’s like the pot hole filler) for your low areas.  We didn’t have any of these, so I didn’t bother purchasing and testing it out.

Liquid Filler (for small cracks)

I returned to the hardware store for a different crack filling option.  I wanted something that would be good for the small cracks, similar to the caulk-style tube, but that would cover more cracks than just 10′.  (We had a long, narrow crack that went the length of our driveway).

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I found this liquid asphalt crack filler and figured the larger format would cover more area.

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It was more liquidy and was actually brown when wet (but dries to black to match the driveway better).  Because it was liquidy, I thought that it would self-level and fill the cracks (how convenient!) but it didn’t really.  I didn’t spread it with my finger like the caulk one, and did end up with some bumpier ridges.

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Another thing to note for the liquid one, there were some dry chunks in the container that would get stuck in the nozzle.  I had to use a toothpick every now and then to clear the clog (which was a bit annoying).

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I was able to fill a much longer crack with this format, and it went by quicker (as long as there were no clogs to take out).

Maybe because I was doing this alone (without the Husband’s help), but I felt like my arms were getting a workout squeezing that tube out!

Conclusion

The pot hole filler is good for large areas, but it’s rocky and won’t be as smooth as the rest of your driveway.  The liquid format is quickest to apply, but it’s a bit shinier than the caulk-style rubberized filler.

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If you don’t have a lot of cracks (less than 20′), then my vote might would probably be for the caulk-style filler.  But, for our driveway (where there are many small cracks), I’m going to use the liquid format (and probably still need a few containers!).

I think the ideal asphalt crack filler would be something that you could apply without exerting too much force, or not having to bend over or crouch down.  Not sure if something like that exists (maybe what they use to fill the cracks on the road?) but that would be nice haha!

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However, if you’re looking to fill asphalt cracks yourself, be prepared for a little bit of prep work and a small amount of physical labour to fill all your cracks.

My plan is to finish filling all the cracks and then seal the driveway this week, so here’s hoping the weather cooperates with me!  I’ll let you know how the different asphalt crack fillers react to the sealant too, so stay tuned for that :)

(I used a different brand than those I linked to – they have a handy website with more information on asphalt driveway repair if you are interested).

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Louise aka Mommy
    September 7, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I’ll forgive the late post since it is because you were visiting me! I read somewhere to put fine sand in the cracks then spray/roll sealer on top. Never did try it here.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      September 9, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      I read that on the website I think – that’s what they do on the roads when they fill the cracks (they put the sand on top afterwards).

  • Reply
    Gerty Gift
    March 8, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Thank you for your advice about using a shop vac to clean out the cracks. I have been using a broom to try to get it all ready, but can’t get it clean enough to fill. I will be taking this into account to finish up this project.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      March 12, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      No problem – they definitely get messy especially if you do your project over a few hours or days!

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