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Driveway Resurfacing

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With passage of time, even the most durable material used for the driveway tends to wear off. The chips and cracks on a worn out driveway are not safe. They are rather unsightly as well. Without postponing and allowing for further damage, fix the issue by opting for driveway resurfacing.

As compared to a complete driveway replacement, driveway resurfacing is cost effective. Moreover, the benefits of driveway resurfacing are manifold. You get to enjoy a comfortable and safe ride and add to the aesthetic appeal and value of your property.


Prepare for driveway resurfacing

Though there are contractors who offer driveway resurfacing services, with a little bit of planning and effort, the work is rated as D-I-Y task. A helping hand is always welcome and driveway resurfacing can indeed turn out to be a successful weekend project. Some thoughtful planning is essential.

Check weather forecast: An ideal temperature of 50 degree Celsius with no rain forecast for at least three days is a favorable weather condition.

Clean-up: Prepare the driveway surface for resurfacing. Clean the entire driveway, Clear the debris and rubble. A clean driveway is easier to work and the work would be effective too. Look out for oil stains. Rub off as much as possible with paper. Stubborn oil stains can be removed using oil cleaner or degreasing agents. Use stiff wire brush; scrub the area for 5 minutes. Rinse the area with a hose. Repeat if necessary.

Repair: Check for cracks and holes and repair even before actually starting work. Fill the concrete cracks with sealant or grout. Fill the holes with epoxy mortar which is available at any home improvement store. Let the area be completely dry before beginning work.

Stay off: Vehicular traffic on the driveway will not be possible for at least 48-72 hours or till the driveway is dry. Anticipate and make an alternative arrangement for vehicle parking.

Tools for the job: Besides the driveway resurfacing material, a wheel barrow or large container is needed to prepare the mixture. Other materials include clean water, a shovel, a pair of gloves and dust mask.


Driveway resurfacing options

Asphalt driveway resurfacing, concrete driveway resurfacing, gravel driveway resurfacing are few options for considerations. Of the three, cost-wise, gravel driveway resurfacing is the least expensive.

Between, asphalt and concrete, asphalt cost less, about 30% lesser than concrete driveway. And, concrete lasts longer and is almost maintenance free. Asphalt or concrete, the weather conditions play an important role in selecting the resurfacing material. For cooler climatic conditions, asphalt is the right choice and for a warmer climate, concrete is perfect. The other factor is appearance. Asphalt offers no color choice. With concrete, adding color extends a decorative finish.


Concrete driveway resurfacing: If the existing concrete driveway is not cracking all the way or crumbled completely, concrete driveway resurfacing works well. The two options for concrete driveway resurfacing are preparing your own mixture or buying pre-prepared mixture.

Prepare mixture: Mix your own driveway concrete, a combination of Portland cement, water and sand or gravel. The ideal concrete driveway depth would be concrete 6-inches deeper.


  • The ratio of the mixture should be more of cement and less water.
  • Add water less than 50% the amount of cement.
  • Always add water in small amounts.
  • Gravel, sand or both can be added to the concrete mix if desired.
  • Adding gravel, sand or both make the mixture pourable.
  • The concrete mixture should be lump free, of even color and consistency.
  • Slightly dampen the driveway and apply a thin layer of concrete glue.
  • Alternatively spray water with a hose.
  • Apply the concrete resurfacing mixture.
  • Work in small areas at a time and at a steady pace.
  • Pour a small amount on the surface.
  • Spread it evenly with a squeegee.
  • Work on the edges with 15-20 minutes of application.
  • Use a concreted edger for the edges.

Having a smooth concrete driveway opens a slippery surface, especially when the surface is wet. For a rough surface and slip resistant driveway, use a broom and make quick strokes within 5 minutes of the application. For a decorative finish, add cement color to the product mixture. Avoid foot traffic for at least 6-8 hours and at least 24 hours for vehicular traffic.

Pre-prepared concrete mixture: Read instructions, add water and the mixture is ready for application. The ready-mix concrete is home-delivered and is ready for pouring in place.


Decorative concrete driveway resurfacing

After resurfacing the driveway, if the plain gray color of the concrete appears dull and not aesthetically pleasing, go ahead and play around with color and texture.


  • Decorate the concrete area with tinted colorants varying from bold bright colors to subtle neutral tones.
  • The choice of color could match the primary color of the house or the grass yard or the patio.
  • Not limited to changing colors, consider adding patterns, designs and plethora of finishes to the driveway.
  • An elaborate decorative finish incorporates contrasts in color and pattern.
  • For a stunning decorative finish to the driveway consider an artistic blend of techniques, patterns and coloring mediums.
  • Consider engraving. The choice includes custom images and words and carving designs into the cement.
  • Adding oil and stone over the top of the existing asphalt or concrete driveway can dramatically change the look.

Asphalt driveway resurfacing

Even the best laid asphalt driveway doesn't last forever. If it is in rough shape, resurfacing an existing asphalt driveway will extend its life and improves strength and stability without fully replacing existing asphalt. During the process of resurfacing, the new top of asphalt is installed on the existing surface. The two layers will bind together as they are made with the same material. That does not rule out the option of laying asphalt on an existing concrete surface. An assessment to confirm the strength of concrete layer is recommended. Concrete or asphalt, before initiating the resurfacing process determine if the surface is in sound condition and can actually be resurfaced.

Unlike concrete driveway resurfacing, asphalt driveway resurfacing is best done by an asphalting company. The work requires high levels of skill. From assessing the appropriate stage to selecting an asphalting company, there are many key areas for consideration.


When: Assess the condition of the existing asphalt driveway. If cracking covers 25% of the driveway, instead of repairing, resurfacing should be the best option. Alternatively, test the existing blacktop by pouring a bucket of water on it on a hot day while the blazing sun is out. If the surface water evaporates leaving behind a dark ring on the blacktop which ultimately dries up, it's time to consider resurfacing the existing asphalt driveway.

Why: It is important to assess why the present asphalt driveway cracking or failing. Due corrections can be done in the new asphalt.


  • Is it because of seasonal freezing and thawing?
  • Is it due to scar from heavy weight or sharp objects?
  • Has it become dry and brittle from certain elements?
  • Has the driveway aged?

How: It involves resurfacing the entire surface with a new overlay of 1 to 3 of hot bituminous asphalt or seal coating a thin layer of a black, sticky sealant over the existing asphalt. The job of the sealant is to fill in the smaller cracks and darken the color of the asphalt. Seal coating is not favorable if the driveway has suffered large scale damage or if the place is subjected to serious weather concerns.

Who: Obtain proposals from more than one asphalt driveway resurfacing contractor. Verify the contractor's previous record before signing a contract. Additionally, visit earlier paving sites to assess quality of work done by the contractor. Insist on making the final payment only on completion of work duly adhering to specifications as per contract in a satisfactory manner.

Specify: The new asphalt driveway should slope away from the house so that during rains, rain water is let into the street or to a catch basin. Secondly, the level of the driveway should not be any higher than the bottom of any basement window frame. Thirdly, the contractor should ensure that the edges are firmly supported and taped.

A D-I-Y asphalt driveway resurfacing begins with sourcing for a tub of resurface material.


  • Choose material with bonding polymers to ensure flexibility, durability and support weather conditions.
  • Prefer material with sand additives.
  • Clean area.
  • Use oil stain remover for grease, oil stains etc.
  • Repair damaged areas.
  • Use liquid filler for small cracks.
  • For larger cracks, use paste filler.
  • Fill potholes with asphalt cold patch.
  • Always read manufacturer's instructions.
  • Prepare resurface material.
  • Mix well with a drill or a mixer.
  • Apply the resurfacing material.
  • Use a wide wet squeegee to spread evenly.
  • Work in small areas.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions to dry the surface.

Gravel driveway resurfacing

Even the most elegant, eco-friendly gravel driveway with colored stones and patterns can demand attention. With frequent movement of vehicles, wear and tear is something to be expected in due course of time. Stone dust, Pea stone, colored gravel or a gravel driveway with accents, potholes and ruts begins to develop and become deeper and bigger can soon make the gravel driveway unusable. Also, the gravel tends to move or shift with time and compact into the sub-base.

A quick-fix involves widening the pothole by taking out the entire section and then filling the hole with layers of gravel. But, at some point you may need to add fresh gravel to the driveway. Layering with new gravel is expensive. Instead, with the gravel you already have, it's possible to resurface the existing gravel driveway.


Choose new gravel mixture: Besides existing gravel, other options include recycled asphalt product, a mix of crushed asphalt, crushed brick and crushed concrete.

Purchase gravel: Take help from the supplier to determine quantity of material required. Buffer stock in case extra filling is required.

Level the surface: Rake small layers of gravel. It is safe and effective too. Remove debris and the ensure surface and the adjoin area is clean.

Determine driveway slope: If the earlier gravel driveway wasn't sloping enough to drain out water determine corrections before resurfacing. Check if the driveway slopes away from the center of the driveway and down towards the driveway base.

Fill up potholes: Use replacement gravel to fill potholes. Pour the gravel generously on the driveway. Allow the hole to overflow with the replacement gravel. With the rake, spread the overflowing gravel to the sides. Ensure the pothole is filled with the gravel.


Distribute gravel: Empty gravel from sacks and spread them evenly with the shovel. Curbs, edges and borders require great attention.

Tamp: For even coverage and depth use a manual or powered tamper. Compress the gravel on the surface to remove air voids beneath the surface.

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