How to Resurface Your Asphalt Driveway

Front elevation and driveway of a beautiful home.

Did you know that a driveway can be one of the most prominent features of your front yard? We want our home’s curb appeal to make a great first impression and that starts with a well-maintained driveway. A common choice for homeowners, especially in areas with freeze and thaw cycles or snow, is an asphalt driveway.

What is Asphalt?

Close up of asphalt

Asphalt is a mixture of aggregates which includes stone, gravel, sand, and bitumen, a sticky, black, semi-solid form of petroleum material that holds the mixture together. Asphalt is primarily used for the construction and paving of roads, parking lots, and walkways.

Why Does Asphalt Crack?

Cracked asphalt in a park

Unfortunately, mother nature is tough on asphalt. Although asphalt is more flexible than concrete, asphalt driveways require maintenance every 3-5 years. If your driveway is not draining properly, water gets into the gravel base which produces cracking during freeze and thaw periods. As driveways age and deteriorate, you may see them start to crack or you may have major settling causing pot holes. Another common issue is the alligatoring effect, which is where the glaze from a sealcoat cracks and looks similar to alligator scales or pottery. Luckily, this is simply cosmetic in nature and does not affect the structural integrity of the driveway.

When Is It Time to Resurface Your Driveway?

Alligator cracks in an asphalt road

You may need to resurface your driveway if you have:

Alligator Cracks

A group of thin cracks that resemble alligator scales.


A line or split on the surface ranging from simple, minor imperfections from 1/8” to ½” wide to large cracks that involve the base.


Sloping areas or bumps in certain places.

Potholes or Bird Baths

Potholes in the asphalt are holes usually 1”-2” deep or more.

Pooling Water

Large puddles of pooling water are caused by bad draining systems that eat away at your driveway and seep into the ground beneath it.


Asphalt driveways usually last up to 20 years before needing to be replaced. If you can’t remember when your driveway was installed or it’s beginning to show signs of major damage, it’s probably time to get your driveway re-done.

Resurfacing VS Sealcoating: What's the Difference?

What is Resurfacing?

Resurfacing your asphalt driveway means laying a new layer or coat of asphalt over your existing layer. This usually adds 1”-2” of asphalt and corrects structural damage.

What is Sealcoating?

Used primarily for preventative measures, sealcoating restores the rich color of new asphalt, protects asphalt from the sun, and fills minor imperfections in the driveway, but doesn’t repair or restructure the driveway.

What are the Benefits of Resurfacing Your Asphalt Driveway?

Caution tape at the end of an asphalt driveway

Safety Purposes

Potholes are a safety hazard and are hard on your vehicle.

Maintain the Aesthetics of the Driveway

Homeowners choose asphalt for its esthetic value and resurfacing rejuvenates your driveways appearance.

Extend the Life of the Driveway

Resurfacing reinforces your asphalt driveway by repairing cracks and other breaks in the pavement, which improves the overall look and structure of the driveway.

To Prevent Over-sealing

Over-sealing your drivewaycan result in extensive cracking on the surface. Resurfacing is a good alternative.

Save Time and Money

Resurfacing prevents deep cracks and depressions that require extensive and expensive repairs.


How to Resurface Your Asphalt Driveway

There are three important steps to resurface your asphalt driveway. First, you need to clean the driveway removing all dirt, debris, algae, and weeds. You'll also need to repair all cracks and potholes before being able to apply the resurfacer. The resurfacer is applied with a driveway coat brush and worked in a continual back and forth pattern until the whole driveway is coated. See below for more details!

Step 1: Clean the Driveway

Powerwashing a driveway with a grassy lawn in the background

Remove dirt, debris, algae, and weeds using a garden hose or shovel. Loosen debris in cracks with a broom. Use a leaf blower or utility broom to further clear off the surface of the driveway.

Once the driveway is free of dirt, algae, and debris, use a cleaning solution and water to scrub the remaining dirt off the driveway. Set for a few minutes then rinse with water using the pressure washer or hose. Allow the driveway to completely dry before making any repairs. This usually takes about 24 hours.

Step 2: Repair

Now that your driveway is clean, it’s time to repair your driveway by filling all cracks and potholes. Narrow cracks can be filled using a crack filler and smoothed out using your putty knife. Potholes can be filled with a pothole patch material. Pour the material into the pothole and spread it flat and smooth with your putty knife or a trowel. Then use a tamper to pound the patch material and flatten it out. Wash oil spots with a degreaser and apply a primer if necessary.

Step 3: Resurface

A man pouring out asphlat resurfacer onto a driveway

Your resurfacer should be mixed beforehand with a drill and mixing tool or by hand using a wooden stick. Next, use your 3” wide paint brush to apply the resurfacer along all the edges.

Pour the resurfacer in a line across the width of the driveway. Spread this out evenly with the driveway coater brush, and move in a continuous back-and-forth pattern. Working with the wet edge, at the end of each path, make a turn, stop, and re-start in the other direction.

What Do I Need to Get Started?

Helpful Hints for Resurfacing Your Asphalt Driveway

spreading an asphalt patch with a wooden push broom
  1. Once the whole driveway is coated, stake off the driveway with string or tape to keep everyone off the surface.
  2. Make sure no rain is in the forecast and don’t drive on it for 24 hours.
  3. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s directions and recommendations on spread rate or number of coats.
  4. It’s helpful to wear old shoes and clothing that you won’t mind throwing away afterward.
  5. Work on a cooler day. It will slow the dry time and make sure you have more time to spread the material smoothly.
  6. If your asphalt is showing signs of major settling or age, it may be best to contact your local pro first.

With three DIY steps, your driveway will be looking brand new! Be the envy of your neighbors and get your driveway back to tip-top shape. 


How to Build a Fire Pit

A simple and affordable outdoor DIY project with a step-by-step guide

Learn more

Backyard Privacy Ideas

Enjoy some alone time in the comfort of your own backyard with these simple tips

Learn more

Garage Door Maintenance to Keep It in Tip-top Shape

Six easy and cost-effective ways to keep your garage safe and prevent damage

Learn more

How to Install Laminate Flooring

Five easy DIY steps to upgrade your home to a beautiful space

Learn more

Top 10 Rules for Building & Maintaining a Deck

Ten simple steps for creating the perfect outdoor add-on to your home

Learn more