Have a crack on your asphalt walkway? Then no problem, you can easily remedy this right away. The good thing about asphalt is that it is a lot easier to patch compared to concrete. Hence, if you have an asphalt path that you need to fix, let’s get right to it!
The first thing that you need to do if you’re going to remedy any crack on your walkway is to find out the culprit, or why it got cracked in the first place. Most of the time it’s a tree root growing underneath, so that’s what we are going to address in this article.
Dig two holes on both of the ends of your cracked pathway. You should be able to spot the root right away. Check the size of the root judging by its diameter. Hopefully, it’s not a main root of the tree; otherwise, you would have to decide on how you’re going to adjust your walkway accordingly. But, let’s just say that it’s only a minor root and with a clean cut, the root will just heal and you’re tree’s going to be okay.
It’s time to get the root out. Get your hand saw or pruning saw, and start cutting the root from underneath. Do this for both sides of the walkway. Once you’re finished, you’re ready to cut the asphalt on top of the root so you can dig your root out. With a chalk, mark a line three inches from the crack on both sides. That way, you’ll have a guide on where to cut.
With your electric chipping hammer, follow the chalk lines that you have made earlier until you reach the soil underneath. After that, you can remove the cracked asphalt accordingly. You can clean out all the pieces to make digging the root out easier. Dig your way until it’s easy for you to pull out the root.
After taking out the root, you are now left with a trench-like hole. You need to fill this up again in order to reach the level you need to put on your asphalt. Remember that you need to compact the soil in order to do that. You can use a manual plate compactor for wider holes making sure that everything is nice and compact. However, for smaller holes, you could use a 10-pound sledgehammer instead with the handle side up in order to completely pack the soil in.
For the filling, it s advisable for you to use pack mixture. It’s a mixture made out of stone and stone dust. This stone blend will compact as hard as stone, but again, make sure that you compact it tightly using the compactor or your sledgehammer. One useful technique is filling it up by levels and compacting it after each fill. Do this until you reach the required depth to put on your asphalt.
Cutting the asphalt earlier using the chipping hammer will surely leave jagged edges. Take note that in order for the asphalt to attach effectively, you would need smoother edges. With your level, find the area in the surface where it’s relatively flatter and leveled. Mark it again with your chalk and cut it smoothly using a wet saw with a 7-inch diamond blade attachment. Do the same for the other side.
After cutting the asphalt, you just be able to slide it out. Now, let’s work on the edges. In order to prevent your new asphalt from spilling over, you can build a temporary form using two 2x6s attached on both edges with four 24 inches long, ½ inch diameter rebars (two for each side) to hold them steady. Bury these bars steady on the ground.
Once the forms are solid, you can start compacting the ground again with more pack, the same way we did earlier. Do this until you have a nice smooth and flat surface.
For this repair, we are going to use an asphalt cold patch. It’s a type of asphalt that’s easy to use because you don’t have to heat it anymore. You can use it straight out of the packaging. It’s a mixture of stone and asphalt binders. You can use this material not only for walkways, but also for potholes, cracks, and other asphalt needs.
Remember how we filled the trench with pack level by level in order to make sure that it’s fully compacted? That’s also the same way that we’re going to fill up the path. Pour an inch at a time, tamp it down to make a flat and compact surface before you pour in another level. Do this until you have the mixture half an inch above the surface so you can tamp it down some more. It should be compacted down to the level of your walkway. You could use your garden rake to level it down nice and even.
Once you’ve got the cold patch nice, tight, and flat, it’s time for the finishing touches. Why don’t you treat yourself to a couple of cold beers for a job well done while you wait a couple of weeks for the patch to dry? Not a bad idea, right mate?
When the patch is completely dry, all you need to do seal coat the whole walkway and voila! No one will even notice that there was a crack there in the first place!