DIY Patching Potholes In Your Driveway

Posted on: 29 December 2014

If you live in a northern climate you already know that potholes on the highway are a sure sign that spring is on the way. There isn't much you can do about the potholes on public roadways, but that doesn't mean you need to tolerate them in your driveway too. Giving them a temporary fix until warm weather arrives is easier than you may think and gives you plenty of time to arrange for the services of a professional.

You will Need:

  • Patching Compound
  • Shovel/ trowel
  • Push Broom
  • Tamping Tool
  • Plywood or Boards
  • Work Gloves
  • Protective Clothing

What is Patching Compound?

Patching compound or filler is sold under a variety of names. It is premixed and contains tar, rocks and/or asphalt that is ready-to-use. It is sold in tubs for small jobs or in 50 to 60 pound bags for larger jobs. The product is poured or scooped into the pothole where it bonds quickly with the existing pavement to create a solid patch. Read the label carefully, click here to find out more, and select the product that matches your existing pavement. Check that the container has enough patching compound to fill all the holes in your driveway.

  1. Choose a sunny day when the temperatures are above freezing and no rain or snow is predicted for two to three days. Check the instructions for your patching compound to determine the minimum temperature for application. While most can be used successfully on warm spring days, cool weather may delay the bounding and hardening process.
  2. Remove any ice or snow around the pothole with a shovel or ice pick.
  3. Scoop loose dirt and broken pieces of pavement from the hole with a shovel or push broom. It isn't necessary to remove small pebbles or fine gravel, but get the hole as clean as possible.
  4. Allow the area to dry in the sun, if possible. Otherwise use an air hose or hairdryer to blow the area dry. This prepares the area for a strong bond with the patching material. Moisture in the hole may prevent the filler from bounding with the existing pavement.
  5. Pour two inches of the filler into the hole and tamp it down with a tamping tool. You can use the back of a garden hoe or the back of the shovel blade if necessary. Likewise you can make your own tamping tool by making a T with two sections of 2x4's.
  6. Add another two inches of filler and tamp it down firmly. Continue adding two inches at a time until the hole is filled and the filler is slightly higher than the surrounding area. This leaves room for the filler to settle.
  7. Place a piece of plywood or boards over the hole, depending on its size, for several days to allow the filler to bound and settle into the hole. You can drive over the area, but do so cautiously.
  8. Remove the wood when the filler has molded to the area.


  • Wear work gloves and protective clothing.
  • Remove tar from your hands or skin by applying baby oil, vegetable oil or petroleum jelly and then rubbing gently with a pumice stone. Wash with hot, soapy water.
  • Do not apply driveway sealer for at least 6 months, as the patch takes time to cure completely.

Patching holes in your pavement with patching material is not always a permanent solution. If you don't like the appearance of your handiwork, you can always call in the professionals when the weather warms. For now, enjoy your rut-free driveway and worry about aesthetics later. After all the main purpose of the paved driveway is a smooth driving experience.