DIY Driveway Leveling

Is your driveway looking a bit bumpy? Don’t worry! You can fix that uneven asphalt without breaking the bank. This guide will show you how to level your driveway, saving you money and giving you a smooth surface.

Uneven driveways are more than just an eyesore. They can be dangerous, causing trips and falls, or damaging your car. But with a little elbow grease and the right know-how, you can tackle this problem head-on.

Understanding Driveway Unevenness

Before we tackle fixing the problem, let’s consider why it occurs. Knowing the cause can help prevent future issues and choose the best fix.

Common Causes of Asphalt Driveway Unevenness

  1. Weather: Hot summers and cold winters can make asphalt expand and contract, leading to cracks and bumps.
  2. Tree roots: Those beautiful trees in your yard? Their roots can push up your driveway from below.
  3. Poor drainage: Water that doesn’t drain properly can weaken the asphalt over time.
  4. Age: Like everything else, driveways get old. Wear and tear over the years can cause unevenness.
  5. Heavy vehicles: Parking big trucks or RVs on your driveway can cause it to sink in spots.

Assessing the Extent of the Problem

Before you start fixing, take a good look at your driveway. Here’s what to check:

  • Walk the length of your driveway. Feel for bumps or dips under your feet.
  • Look for cracks, especially ones wider than a pencil.
  • Check for areas where water pools after rain.
  • Look for spots where the asphalt looks thin or worn.

Note all the problem areas. This will help you plan your repair strategy and ensure that you have enough materials.

DIY Leveling Methods for Asphalt Driveways

Now that you know what you’re dealing with, let’s discuss how to fix it. Depending on the severity of the unevenness, you can use several different methods.

Using Asphalt Patching Compound

Asphalt patching compound is your best friend for small dips and cracks. It’s easy to use and works well for minor repairs.

How to use it:

  1. Clean the area thoroughly.
  2. Pour the compound into the dip or crack.
  3. Smooth it out with a trowel.
  4. Let it dry completely before driving on it.

Applying Asphalt Resurfacer

If your driveway has many small imperfections, resurfacing might be the solution. It’s like giving your driveway a fresh coat of paint.


  1. Clean the entire driveway.
  2. Mix the resurfacer according to the instructions.
  3. Pour it onto the driveway and spread it evenly with a squeegee.
  4. Let it dry for at least 24 hours.

Employing Cold Patch for Small Areas

Cold patches are great for fixing potholes and larger cracks. It’s called “cold” because you don’t need to heat it to use it.

How to use cold patch:

  1. Clean out the pothole or large crack.
  2. Fill it with cold patch material.
  3. Tamp it down firmly.
  4. Let it cure for a day or two before driving on it.

Remember, these DIY methods work best for minor to moderate unevenness. If your driveway looks like a roller coaster, it might be time to call in the pros.## Tools and Materials Needed

Before starting your DIY driveway leveling project, ensure you have the right tools and materials. Having everything ready will make the job go smoother and faster.

Essential Equipment for DIY Driveway Leveling

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Protective gear: Safety glasses and work gloves
  • Broom and leaf blower: For cleaning the driveway
  • Garden hose or pressure washer: To thoroughly clean the surface
  • Shovel: For removing loose debris and preparing the area
  • Trowel or putty knife: For applying and smoothing the patching compound
  • Rake or hand tamper: To level and compact the repair material
  • Squeegee: For spreading resurfacer evenly

Depending on the method you choose, you’ll need different materials:

For patching compound:

  • Asphalt patching compound
  • Bucket for mixing (if needed)

For resurfacing:

  • Asphalt resurfacer
  • Mixing paddle (for use with a drill)
  • Large bucket for mixing

For cold patch:

  • Cold patch material
  • Sand (optional, for better compaction)

Don’t forget to pick up a few basics like duct tape for marking areas and a spray bottle for dampening surfaces. Having all these tools and materials ready will make your DIY driveway leveling project much easier.

Step-by-Step Guide to DIY Asphalt Driveway Leveling

Now that you’ve got your tools and materials, let’s walk through the process step-by-step.

Preparing the Surface

First things first, we need to get that driveway clean and ready:

  1. Remove any weeds or grass growing through cracks.
  2. Sweep the entire driveway to remove loose debris.
  3. Use a leaf blower to get rid of any remaining dust.
  4. Wash the driveway with a garden hose or pressure washer.
  5. Let it dry completely. This might take a day, so plan accordingly.

Filling Cracks and Holes

Before we level, we need to tackle those cracks and holes:

  1. For small cracks, use a caulking gun to apply crack filler.
  2. For larger cracks and small holes, use your asphalt patching compound.
  3. Fill the cracks and holes, making sure to overfill slightly.
  4. Smooth the patch with your trowel or putty knife.
  5. Let these repairs dry according to the product instructions.

Applying the Leveling Material

Now for the main event – leveling that driveway:

  1. Mix your chosen leveling material according to the instructions.
  2. Start at the highest point of the driveway and work your way down.
  3. Pour the material onto low spots and spread it with your squeegee or trowel.
  4. For larger areas, use a long-handled squeegee to spread the material evenly.
  5. Work in small sections to ensure even coverage.

Smoothing and Finishing

Let’s make sure everything looks good:

  1. Use your rake or hand tamper to smooth out the leveling material.
  2. Check for any missed spots or uneven areas.
  3. Add more material if needed and smooth again.
  4. Let the entire driveway dry completely. This usually takes 24-48 hours.

Remember, patience is key. Don’t rush the drying process, or you might damage your hard work. Once everything is dry, you’ll have a smooth, level driveway to be proud of!

Cost Considerations

One big reason to tackle driveway leveling yourself is to save money. Let’s break down the costs so you know what to expect.

Comparing DIY vs Professional Services

Hiring a pro to level your driveway can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000, depending on the size of your driveway and how much work it needs. Yikes!

Doing it yourself can save you a bundle. Most DIY driveway leveling projects cost between $200 and $500. That’s a big difference!

Breakdown of Material Costs

Here’s what you might spend on materials:

  • Asphalt patching compound: $20-$50 per 50-pound bag
  • Asphalt resurfacer: $25-$45 per 5-gallon bucket
  • Cold patch: $10-$20 per 50-pound bag
  • Crack filler: $15-$30 per gallon

Tools you might need to buy if you don’t already have them:

  • Hand tamper: $30-$60
  • Squeegee: $15-$30
  • Safety gear: $20-$40

Remember, these are just estimates. Prices can vary depending on where you live and where you shop. But even if you need to buy all the tools and materials, you’re still likely to spend way less than hiring a pro.

Safety Precautions and Best Practices

Safety first! Let’s talk about how to keep yourself safe while you work on your driveway.

Personal Protective Equipment

Always wear:

  • Safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris
  • Work gloves to protect your hands
  • Closed-toe shoes (no flip-flops!)
  • A dust mask if you’re working with dry materials

Handling Materials Safely

  • Read all product labels carefully before use.
  • Mix materials in a well-ventilated area.
  • Avoid skin contact with chemicals. If you do get something on your skin, wash it off right away.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke while working with driveway materials.

Weather Considerations

  • Choose a day when no rain is expected for at least 24 hours after you finish.
  • Avoid working on very hot days. The materials might dry too fast and not bond properly.
  • Don’t try to level your driveway if it’s below 50°F (10°C). The materials won’t cure correctly.

By following these safety tips and best practices, you’ll protect yourself and ensure your driveway leveling project turns out great. Stay safe and have fun with your DIY project!

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Unevenness

Now that you’ve worked hard to level your driveway, let’s discuss how to keep it that way. A little regular care can go a long way in preventing future problems.

Regular Inspections and Cleaning

Make driveway checks a part of your routine:

  1. Every few months, take a walk around your driveway. Look for any new cracks or dips.
  2. Clean your driveway regularly. Use a broom or leaf blower to get rid of dirt and debris.
  3. Once a year, give your driveway a good power wash. This helps you spot any issues and keeps it looking great.

Sealing and Protecting the Driveway Surface

Sealing your driveway is like giving it a shield against damage:

  1. Plan to seal your driveway every 2-3 years.
  2. Choose a good quality sealer made for asphalt driveways.
  3. Apply the sealer on a dry day when no rain is expected for at least 24 hours.
  4. Follow the instructions on the sealer carefully. Usually, you’ll apply it with a long-handled squeegee or a roller.

Remember, a well-maintained driveway lasts longer and looks better. Plus, fixing small problems early is easier (and cheaper) than dealing with big ones later.

When to Call a Professional

While DIY driveway leveling can save you money, there are times when it’s best to call in the pros.

Recognizing Limitations of DIY Methods

DIY methods work great for minor unevenness and small repairs. But they have limits:

  • Large areas of unevenness might need more specialized equipment.
  • DIY fixes won’t solve the root issue if your driveway has sunk due to problems with the base layers.
  • Very old driveways might need more than just leveling – they might need full replacement.

Signs that Professional Help is Needed

Here are some signs it’s time to call a pro:

  1. Your driveway has large cracks (wider than 1/4 inch) or many interconnected cracks.
  2. There are deep potholes or areas where the asphalt has completely broken away.
  3. You notice water pooling in large areas after rain.
  4. The edges of your driveway are crumbling.
  5. Your DIY fixes aren’t lasting or the unevenness keeps coming back.

Remember, there’s no shame in calling for help. Sometimes, getting a professional involved early can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.


Congratulations! You’ve now got all the info you need to tackle your uneven driveway. Let’s recap what we’ve learned:

  • We talked about why driveways get uneven and how to spot the problems.
  • You learned about different DIY methods to fix unevenness, from patching compounds to resurfacers.
  • We reviewed the tools and materials you’ll need, and how to use them safely.
  • You got a step-by-step guide to leveling your driveway, from prep work to finishing touches.
  • We examined the costs and how much you can save by doing it yourself.
  • You learned some important safety tips to keep in mind while you work.
  • We covered maintenance tips to keep your driveway looking great for years.
  • Finally, we talked about when it might be best to call in a pro.

Remember, taking care of your driveway isn’t just about looks. A smooth, level driveway is safer for you, your family, and your vehicles. Plus, it adds value to your home.

So roll up your sleeves, gather your materials, and get ready to transform your driveway. With a little effort and the knowledge you’ve gained, you’ll have a driveway you can be proud of – without breaking the bank. Happy leveling!

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