Effective Ways to Repair Sunken areas or Birdbaths in Asphalt Driveways

Published: 21st May 2010
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There are a number of simple ways to go about repairing low spots on your driveway. Low spots in asphalt are often called birdbaths because of their tendency to create puddles of water on driveways. If these are not very deep-- less than an inch can, they can be filled up to make them level with the surrounding asphalt. Sunken areas or birdbaths in asphalt can be repaired with a few different asphalt repair products found below.

Repair of sunken asphalt must be done after loose material has been removed from the crack using a brush, a blower or a broom. A greasy or badly-soiled asphalt repair patch may be washed with cleaning agents available in the market, and especially meant for cleaning driveways. A pressure washer might even be needed in extreme cases. Ensure that there is no standing water while the patching material is being applied to your asphalt driveway repair. In a pinch, a torch can be used to dry standing water.

One option is to apply "driveway coating" or emulsified liquid asphalt so that the new and the old material adhere together. Smooth and then tamp the patch and allow the driveway to dry for a day before you seal-coat the whole driveway. For a faster repair, use polyurethane repair material FloMix. Mix your materials and spread them over the damaged area and coat with topping sand. This repair will be complete in about an hour.

In case of a large pothole you can use cold patch or FloMix. Cold patches must be applied gradually (2" patches at a time) and repeatedly tamped to avoid the formation of air pockets. If you are unable to tamp the repair, FloMix can be mixed simply to fill the pothole. It does not need any special equipment for installation and provides a long-lasting asphalt driveway repair.

When first installed, asphalt driveways should be poured over a base of crushed stone, which is placed either on undisturbed grade, or on fill soil that has been mechanically compacted. When driveways sink, it is often because the underlying surface was not properly compacted, or because the fill dirt contains debris (such as tree stumps or vegetation) that are decomposing and collapsing underground. There are other less common causes such as erosion and undermining of the soil bed due to improper rainwater drainage, broken pipes, unknown underground water source, sinkholes, marshland, expansive soil, seismic disturbances or even volcanic activity.

If your home is new and the damage to your asphalt driveway repair is significant, contact your builder. Improper compaction of the driveway subsoil is an issue that causes these problems and should be covered under your home's warranty. If you suspect a broken buried line or pipe could be adding to your problem contact your utility company, or dial 811 for a free identification of buried lines and cables. Check out your rain gutters, downspouts and rainwater drainage to make sure water isn't running toward your driveway, pooling or eroding the soil underneath it.

If your problem continues after repairing your driveway, contact a soil engineer to determine exactly what's going on underground. Avoid continued patching of your driveway if it's going to keep on sinking, and it is essential to make sure there's not an underlying problem that could grow worse or even affect your home's foundation.

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