DIY Network

How to Repave a Driveway

If your driveway is cracking, it may be time to install a new surface.

More in Outdoors

starting project to remove and repair old driveway
  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $5,000 - $10,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Remove the Old Asphalt

After snapping a chalk line between the driveway and the street as a guideline, begin by carefully saw-cutting through the asphalt and into the underlying sub-grade (Image 1).

With the boundaries clearly formed, remove the bulk of the old asphalt with a skid roller. Break the asphalt into manageable chunks (Image 2) with the aid of a loader bucket, and haul them to a dump truck for later recycling.

Step 2: Provide a Firm Base

Once the asphalt is removed, use the loader bucket once again to spread and smooth over the now exposed sub-grade.

Compact the exposed sub-grade giving the new layers of asphalt a firm base. First, use a hand-guided sub-compactor around the inside edges to prevent damaging the adjacent concrete (Image 1). Follow this by running a roller over the majority of the sub-grade (Image 2).

Step 3: Create a Watertight Bond and Even Layers

With the sub-grade compacted, prepare for the new asphalt by dabbing a tack adhesive along the boundaries with a broom (Image 1). This helps to create a strong watertight bond between the cut edges and the soon to be paved asphalt.

Learn to operate a screed mounted onto the back of an asphalt paver (Image 2). For large areas, speed is key in spreading the asphalt before it cools, and utilizing an asphalt paver helps create efficient even layers called "lifts".

Step 4: Add the First Layer of Asphalt

For the first lift, which needs to provide durability, load the paver with asphalt mixed with a coarse aggregate. As the paver passes over the sub-grade, manipulate the screed's hand crank—controlling both the flow of asphalt and the width of the layer (Image 1). Following along closely, other crewmembers rake the asphalt to give it an even surface.

With the first layer of asphalt laid, use the smaller sub-compactor to compact the edges of the lift, and the larger roller to compact the inner area (Image 2).

Step 5: Rake the Asphalt

After laying down a second layer of asphalt, learn the proper technique in raking the asphalt. Although it seems basic, properly raking the heavy asphalt is crucial for the final appearance. Using both sides of the rake, one pronged and one flat, scrape the asphalt to the edges.

Note: For compaction purposes, the asphalt is laid higher than the adjacent material. To form seamless edges, make sure to separate and remove the larger asphalt pebbles leaving the finer ones, which makes for a smoother finish (Image 1).

After compacting the asphalt flush with the surrounding material, check the work with a level (Image 2).