How To Address An Asphalt Driveway Bowl Or Dip

Posted on: 15 August 2016


If you have a paved asphalt driving leading up to your home, then you can expect the asphalt to remain in great shape for about 12 to 35 years. If you want your driveway to last for closer to 35 years than 12 years, then you need to make sure that you deal with maintenance issues as soon as they arise. The ponding or pooling of water on the surface of the asphalt is one thing you should address. 

Fill In Bowls

Asphalt pavement will sit on top of both a gravel and a dirt sub-base that will hold the weight of your driveway. The layers of material can sink or fall over time, and the asphalt will also shift. A formation called a bowl will then appear, and water will gather in the bowl after a rainstorm. Standing water can cause the sealcoating across the surface of the asphalt to deteriorate. Water then infiltrates the asphalt underneath the sealant and interacts with the bitumen binder that holds the driveway together. As the binder breaks down, the asphalt forms cracks. These cracks can fill with water, freeze in the winter, and widen over time.

To prevent cracks and general deterioration, you can fill in the bowl with an asphalt patch material if it is no deeper than one or two inches. You will need a cold-pour filler material for the job. Some cold-pour patch products contain rubber, vinyl, acrylic, or a mix of the three polymers. These fillers are often used to fill in cracks, and they can be layered to make repairs to bowls in your driveway. Clean debris from the bowl and then pour the cold filler into the depression. Fill about one-quarter inch of the bowl and allow the filler to cure. It typically takes a few hours for the material to harden. When the filler no longer feels spongy to the touch, add another one-quarter inch of material. Keep layering the asphalt until you reach the top of the bowl. Use a squeegee to smooth the filler material once the top layer is added.

Have Drainage Installed

If you notice large or numerous bowls across the surface of your driveway, then you may have a hard time filling in all of the indentations. Hot and solid asphalt patch material should be used to make repairs. Speak with your asphalt specialist about installing the patch.

Large bowls signify a drainage problem, where large volumes of water interrupt the sub-base underneath the driveway instead of flowing away from the area like it should. Adding a french drain to your property can help to collect excess water and move it to a distant location on your property or to a storm drain along the road. French drains require the digging of a ditch, the placement of gravel, and the installation of a perforated pipe. Dry wells and extended gutter spouts can help you to deal with drainage issues as well.

Once the overall ground drainage issue is addressed, you can install a drain directly in the asphalt driveway. Channel drains are the most common type of driveway installations. The long and narrow drains are typically added to the top portion of the driveway that sits close to your garage. However, they can be installed closer to the middle of the asphalt. 

The placement of a drain requires an extensive amount of work that includes the cutting and removal of asphalt and the placement of a drain pipe. Also, a small amount of concrete will need to be poured before the channel drain and grate can be added to the area. It is wise to speak with an asphalt specialist to learn more about adding the drain, unless you are extremely experienced in home improvement projects.