DIY is a big deal these days, in case you haven’t noticed. There are three main reasons for this. First, the prevalence of information out there (e.g. free instructional content on YouTube) make is easy for virtually anyway to go through a step-by-step process for many different maintenance and construction projects around the house. This gives people the confidence to try things themselves that would ordinarily be hired out to professionals. The second reason is that people are trying harder than ever to be conscious of their expenditures. Tackling projects yourself is a way (at least in theory) to mitigate expenses and save cash.

And the third reason? People simply take pride in doing work themselves, whether its enjoyment of the actual process or the finished result.

How does all of this relate to cracks in the pavement? Is this honestly something that homeowners should be doing themselves, or is it better to hire a professional?

There really isn’t one single answer to these questions. It depends heavily on the age of the pavement, the quality of the installation, the extent of the cracks, and whether or not the homeowner in question has any experience working with asphalt or concrete.

Let’s start with the first variable: How old is the pavement? If your driveway or walkway was built ten or more years ago, the aging process could be in its advanced phases. This means the pavement is growing structurally weaker every year, and the problems you see aren’t just on the surface.

The quality of the installation is also a key factor. When a professional installs pavement (whether asphalt, concrete, brick pavers, or any other variety of pavement), they follow a meticulous process starting with the base and sub-base layers that will support the pavement itself. At least, they should follow a meticulous process. This doesn’t always happen – which means that a poor quality installation can be structurally problematic, and the cracks you see on the surface might not be the half of it.

How extensive are the cracks? Are there entire “webs” or “networks” of cracks, or just one or two? If the cracks are extensive, you could be dealing with serious structural problems. Using a DIY filler solution might buy you a little time, but in many cases such measures won’t even be worth the time or money. If the cracks are isolated and small, DIY solutions can be a valuable way to temporarily strengthen the pavement and buy yourself some time.

Finally, do you (the homeowner) have experience with asphalt or concrete? If so, you might have a better sense of whether DIY crack filling methods are useful in your case, or whether it’s better to call a professional.

In most cases, a professional assessment from a pavement contractor is a good idea when you notice cracks forming on your asphalt or concrete. That way, you’ll have a clear idea of how extensive the damage is, what caused it, and how to prevent it in the future. Just make sure you call a professional with a strong reputation in the community, and high average review scores on popular online channels.