Different parts of the country favor different driveway materials. Concrete and asphalt weather differently, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. If your driveway is asphalt, one disadvantage is its vulnerability to potholes. The advantage is these are pretty easy to fix. Blacktop is popular where winters are cold, and temperatures will affect the materials. The warmer it is, the softer the patch, making it easier to work with.
Step 1 - Clean Out the Pothole
Pull any loose debris or chunks of asphalt out of the hole so you have a clear area to work with. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you don’t want anything in the way of your tools.
Step 2 - Lay a Base of Patch
You can get a bag or bucket of asphalt patch at a home center or hardware store. It’s premixed and easy to use. Pour about 2 inches of the patch into the hole and tamp it down firmly. Depending on the size of the hole, you can use a tamper, a shovel, or a trowel for this. If you’re using a trowel, you won’t have very good leverage. For the best compaction, set the trowel on the surface and then smack it with a mallet. Good compaction is the key to a good repair.
Step 3 - Fill and Compact
Add another 2 inches of patch and compact again, repeating until the pothole is filled. Don’t try to take shortcuts to make this go faster. Too much material in one layer, or too little compacting, will make the patch sink and collapse, and will create another pothole.
Step 4 - Build a Dome
When the patch is flush with the surrounding surface, put a final cap on it. Add a layer of material so the center of the patch is higher than the edges and compact it down. It should still dome above the surface a bit to allow for settling over time. To make the surface of the patch less sticky, especially if you’re working in warm weather, sprinkle a layer of dry Portland cement over the final dome before you tamp it. This can also help it visually blend with the surrounding older blacktop.
By following these steps you will fix a pothole in your driveway in no time.