How to Fix a Pothole

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Tired of looking at that ugly pothole in your driveway? Hate the bump when you drive over it? Well you don't need to put up with it anymore and you don't need to hire someone for hundreds of dollars to fix it for you--you can easily do it yourself. All you need are a few tools you've probably already got, some inexpensive asphalt cold patch (available at home stores) and a willingness to get a little sweaty and dirty.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Broom and dustpan or shop vac
  • Hose
  • Work gloves
  • Piece of 4" x 4" lumber (3 to 4 feet long)
  • Bags of asphalt cold patch mixture (small aggregate gravel coated with asphalt).

Fixing your pothole

  • Wait for a warm dry day (this will make the asphalt coating on the cold patch soft and it will bond better).

  • Dig out any loose gravel or asphalt in the pothole. Make sure you clean out all the way down to the compacted gravel base of your driveway.

  • After getting rid of the larger loose pieces, use your broom and dustpan or shop vac to get rid of any smaller pieces still in the hole. (You need to be sure there aren't any loose pieces left or your repair won't bond tightly).

  • Spray the sides and bottom of the hole with your hose (don't soak it, just give a quick spray to settle any dust).

  • Fill the hole with cold patch to about 1/2" above the surface of the driveway. Open the bag and pour the cold patch into the hole or use your shovel--don't even think about using your hands even if you are wearing gloves.

  • Use the end of your 4" x 4" to pack down the cold patch. Start at the outside edges and work your way around the hole and then into the center, packing the cold patch level with the surface. You may be able to pack the cold patch below the driveway surface, if so, once the first layer is fully compacted, add more cold patch and repeat the tamping process.

  • Finish by sweeping some dust or sand over your repair so the asphalt in the new patch won't stick to your shoes.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can rent (or even buy) a tamping tool at home stores rather than using a piece of 4" x 4". This will be easier to get your hands around then a 4" x 4".
  • You could avoid going through the tamping process by laying a sheet of plywood over your patch and driving your car back and forth over the wood a few times. It won't do as good a job of packing, but it's definitely easier on your hands and back.
  • Even though you've covered the repaired pothole with sand or dust, it's a good idea not to walk on it for a couple of days until it sets completely.
  • The best time to repair a pothole is when the sun is shining and the temperature is hot, so be sure you wear a hat and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Cold patch is messy, dirty and hard to clean off clothes and skin. Plan accordingly

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