Lots of things can cause your driveway to crack: poor concrete mix, improper preparation or simply the weather.

If you live in an area that experiences long, cold winters, you’re familiar with things like potholes, warped sidewalks and driveway cracks. When water freezes it expands, and ice can cause breakage in even the toughest surface.


Though we recommend leaving the potholes to your city’s maintenance team to fix, touching up your own driveway is an easy DIY project that will keep your home looking tidy year-round.


How to patch a driveway


Not all cracks are created equal, so it’s important to understand which areas to patch and when. Typically, hairline cracks smaller than 1/4-inch don’t indicate underlying damage. But as water gets into them and freezes and thaws repeatedly, the cracks can get bigger. Deep cracks more than 1/4-inch wide are usually an indicator of bigger problems and any fixes would be temporary. You may want to call a professional for these.


However, it’s easy enough to touch up the small cracks in your driveway. We recommend following these four, easy steps:


  1. Clean the area. Pull out any weeds or grass growing in the cracks and remove any other debris, like sand, rocks or pieces of dead leaves. You’ll also want to remove any oil stains.
  2. Use a pressure washer on your driveway so that you’re starting out with a clean surface. This will help your filler adhere better.
  3. Pick the right filler for your project. Numerous large cracks generally benefit from dry concrete mix or a patching compound that contains gravel. But for smaller cracks, a filler like DAP’s Ready-Mixed Concrete Patch is perfect. It is specifically formulated for small breaks in driveways, patios, steps and basements. Best of all, it won’t shrink as it dries. For asphalt driveways, you should use DAP Asphalt Filler and Sealant  This professional-grade asphalt-based compound is specifically formulated for small breaks in driveways, patios, steps and basements. It offers excellent adhesive and weathering features. Best of all, it dries to a black matte finish and won’t shrink.
  4. Let it dry. This is the best thing you can do to ensure that your patchwork stays in place. Driving over it too soon will undo all of your hard work.


Remember: small cracks aren’t indicative of major damage and can be easily patched on your own. But patches are temporary, so you’ll want to keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t grow. Any bigger issues, like cracks larger than 1/4-inch, sinking or structural damage should be left to the professionals. These may require resurfacing or even replacing the driveway altogether.