Mending driveway cracks and silencing squeaky floors

Q I read with interest your recommendation in a recent column in regard to cracks in a concrete driveway. Could you expand on your advice so as to cover an asphalt driveway that has cracked? My driveway has a full-width crack that reopens within a few months after filling. What is the answer? A reader Winchester, Mass.

An asphalt driveway is about as good as its base. The moment that moisture penetrates under the blacktop, deterioration begins. After the fact, there is little that can be done about the substratum other than trying to prevent the migration of water from above as well as the sides.

Undoubtedly, the driveway slopes and drains. You might provide gutters at the sides of the driveway so as to prevent moisture from migrating back under the asphalt. Promptly fill any cracks in the surface.

When placing a new asphaltic driveway, a final ''seal coat'' should be applied. If seal coating is repeated every few years, the chance of major surface cracks is reduced.

The present crack may be more permanently repaired by first filling it with an approved asphaltic filler, followed by a one-inch resurfacing over the driveway.

A mere seal coat without an overlay may help, but my feeling is that the topping is preferable. Then apply a seal coat to the overlay. Reseal as needed.

For an on-site judgment, recommendation, and price, invite a reputable paving contractor to inspect the driveway. You may want to get a couple of written bids before letting a contract.

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