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The driveway is relatively new (2-3 years old). The installer did not provide a new foundation and the driveway is now sinking in places. How might I fix the gaps at edges of my home's blacktop driveway?

Gap

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    Not sure where you are in the world, but that driveway edging would be a disaster to plow snow off of. A plow would take those "bricks" out right away. They look like granite stone blocks to me. Anyways, unless they are bonded to the asphalt, they are going to move with the weather. And the sad fact I've noted with my 30+ year old driveway is asphalt will shrink over time. I'm constantly repairing cracks within it, and I'm sure it will pull back from edging. Frankly it doesn't look bad, doing better will be constant maintenance.
    – DaveM
    Apr 25 at 12:05
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    @isherwood The comment about the contractor was there to explain why I was not contacting the paving company. So it was not "completely irrelevant".
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Apr 25 at 13:11
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    Answers suggesting that you have someone else fix the problem aren't appropriate here. This is a DIY site. We talk about how you can solve a problem. :)
    – isherwood
    Apr 25 at 13:56
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    One option would be to clean out the gap and fill it with polymeric sand.
    – J...
    Apr 25 at 14:06
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    If you seal the edges, where does the water go when it rains? If your driveway is level, you are just going to have a pool
    – rtaft
    Apr 26 at 12:59

2 Answers 2

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They may have done poor preparation and installation work, but the gaps here look like a result of the brick moving rather than any kind of failure or movement in the asphalt.

There exist crack seal caulking products that you could use in combination with foam backer rod to fill the gap. But if the brick edge has moved, it's likely to continue moving, and soon enough the crack seal would fail too. (To find these sealants, do a search for "elastomeric caulk for asphalt," "self-leveling asphalt sealant," or similar.)

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  • What might cause the brick to move? I've lived here 13 years and only now have such a gap.
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Apr 25 at 10:47
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    The cracked mortar between the bricks is a strong indicator that the bricks have moved. Why now, @Yehuda_NYC? Well... why not? Was it a particularly wet or cold winter where you are? If so, that could be the reason. After 13 years of settling, it's entirely possible & reasonable that the disruption 2 years ago to repave caused things to move more and then the edging moved. All that heavy equipment moving around could have caused the damage to the surface below...
    – FreeMan
    Apr 25 at 11:55
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    Or the new asphalt is graded in such a way that water is being collected in the cracks at the edge, and freezing, thus expanding the crack and moving the stones. Also making the crack bigger, so it repeats and gets bigger yet the next time it melts and re-freezes.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 25 at 16:35
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    @Yehuda_NYC Thermal effects might be part of it. Searching online I see expansion coefficients for asphalt around 2x10^-5/°C. If we guess your pavement might range from -20°C to 50°C and might be 20 ft (240 inches) wide then its total movement might be 2x10^-5x70x240 = 0.33 inch. Also, when sand and pebbles get into the gap they serve as shims to help freeze/thaw and thermal expansion continue their work. Maybe the prior asphalt had distributed cracks that absorbed some of the movement while maybe the new asphalt is intact and moves only at its edges.
    – Greg Hill
    Apr 25 at 18:47
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Personally, I wouldn't do anything. Whatever you do will look like a patch job, and it won't stop the rest from deteriorating. Not worth the effort.

If you're determined to do something, consider removing and reinstalling the brick border properly. That will close up the gap and the brick will itself look better.

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  • Do you have any tips on reinstalling a brick border properly? I tried doing that in my own yard and it just ended up looking worse.
    – stannius
    Apr 25 at 16:03
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    @stannius that might be heading off into a new question. Possibly remove the bricks and try to form a concrete curb/kerb, or perhaps use a ground-treated wood to make an edging. Removing the bricks and running lawn up to the edge is an option but that would look bad over time I suspect.
    – Criggie
    Apr 26 at 1:48
  • Two of the fundamental rules of concrete: It loves to be compressed. It hates to be pulled. Something has been pulling the bricks away from the mortar. Might even be kids walking on it. The bricks look like they're higher than they are wide. If you're not willing to use a more stable shape you'll need to build up the lawn and dig a trench for the bricks to achieve stability. Apr 26 at 16:59

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