If your asphalt driveway has stains and cracks, you have three choices. You can make repairs yourself, you can hire an asphalt paving company to cover it with a new layer of asphalt, or you can have the old drive ripped up and a new one installed. The route you take depends on how much money you want to spend and how bad your driveway looks. If you want to make repairs yourself, this is what you can do:

Remove Stains

Old stains are difficult to remove. You may have to clean them several times before you see any progress. You can use household cleaners, such as bleach, or you can buy asphalt cleaner from a home improvement store.

Scrub the stains with the cleaning solution and a stiff brush. If you have a lot of stains, this process may be too overwhelming to undertake, considering the amount of work involved. A power washer may help, but try to avoid hitting cracks with the water stream, or you may drive water under the asphalt and cause further cracking.

Remove Crumbles

Before you can repair the cracks, you need to remove asphalt crumbles and weak edges. You must also get rid of weeds and dirt. If you have quite a bit of weeds coming up through your drive, apply weed killer several days before doing crack repairs, so the roots will already be dead when you pull up the weeds.

You'll have to go over every crack with a brush or use a compressed air stream to clean out the cracks. You may even need to use a file or screwdriver to pry out loose pieces of crumbled asphalt. Once the cracks are clean, they are ready to repair.

Fill Cracks

Buy asphalt crack filler at a home improvement store. You can buy filler for tiny cracks. This comes in a bottle with an application tip you insert into the crack. Larger cracks are best filled with a putty-type asphalt filler that is applied with a wedge.

The process is the same for both products. Pour in the filler and smooth the top of the crack with the wedge so the surface of your driveway is flat. As the filler dries, it shrinks a little, so you'll need to repeat this process again the next day.

Apply Sealcoating

After you repair the cracks, you may want to improve the overall appearance of your driveway by sealcoating it. This is similar to painting your house. You brush on the coating just like paint and it restores the color of your asphalt to look like new. It also helps protect it against future stains.

You can hire a professional, like Curtis Paving, to sealcoat your driveway if you don't want to undertake this laborious job. Sealcoating isn't necessary, but it will probably improve the curb appeal of your driveway. You still have to make all the necessary repairs before you apply the coating.

Beautifying your asphalt driveway takes a lot of work, but the end result is worth it. If you don't want to go through all that, and you want to pay more, you can have a driveway paving company put a new layer of asphalt over your old drive, and it will look good as new.