If your once-pristine asphalt driveway now has oil spots, cracks, or pitted areas, you may be considering your repair options. Although professional resurfacing can provide you with a seamless appearance, you may have trouble parting with the money from your monthly budget. On the other hand, a botched attempt at do-it-yourself (DIY) repair could wind up costing you more in the long run. How can you tell whether your driveway's issues are within your home improvement comfort zone? Read on to learn more about the asphalt issues you should be able to tackle yourself, as well as some situations in which you'll want to enlist professional help.

What asphalt repairs are appropriate for the do-it-yourselfer?

For asphalt problems that are primarily cosmetic, like thin surface cracks or oil stains, you'll usually be able to tackle these issues yourself. For oil stains, you'll first want to apply a solvent to remove the oil from the surface. Merely patching over it will lead to damage over time as the oil eats into the asphalt below and causes the patched area to sink. After you've removed these surface impurities, you'll be able to apply quick-mix asphalt patch to the area and smooth and compress it until the surface is level. Once your asphalt has dried, you'll want to apply a sealant to the entire surface of your driveway to prevent future damage and preserve your new patches.

When do you need professional asphalt repair? 

Asphalt is a unique and durable material that requires compression at ultra-high pressures to form a solid roadway or driveway. As a result, any patching efforts that comprise a large part of your driveway's surface aren't usually a good idea due to your relative inability to apply enough weight to the asphalt while it's drying. This doesn't present a problem for small cracks, as the occasional pressure of your vehicle's wheels is usually enough to compress the patch in place for the foreseeable future. However, unless you're able to rent and operate heavy equipment so that you can do a professional paving job at home, enlisting an asphalt contractor to repair your driveway is a good investment. 

You'll also want to have a contractor take a look at your driveway if there are tree roots, waterlogged areas, or other potential hazards near the edge of your driveway that are leading to structural issues. Merely patching or even paving over a cracked area is unlikely to be successful if the cracks are being formed by tree roots, while driveways that are near swampy patches of land can be vulnerable to erosion and may need additional remediation.

For more information, visit http://www.lakeridgepaving.com or a similar website.