Homeowners are choosing asphalt for their driveways because it is by far the most economical yet durable option. It can withstand pressure from the wear and tear caused by small and large vehicles, and harsh weather elements like rain, heat, humidity and cold. Most importantly, it does not crack easily.
However, asphalt can still break down. For instance, cracks can develop because of truck damage, water damage, base issues, or root damage. Weeds can also sprout up. When left unrepaired, cracks will continue to widen and weeds can flourish, which can lead to further damage and the eventual sizeable repair cost.
Asphalt paving contractors emphasize that a well-maintained asphalt driveway can help increase home value. Instead of looking grimy and oil-stained, it will appear bright, orderly and clean. To make sure that your asphalt driveway retains its beauty and resilience for decades, it requires specific upkeep.
Asphalt Driveway Maintenance Tips
1. Seal your asphalt driveway annually
The longevity of your asphalt driveway can be easily affected by oxidation from the sun, snow and rain. These elements can dry out the binders in the asphalt, thereby exposing the next layer of binders. When left unaddressed, your asphalt driveway can completely break down.
With seal coating, deterioration can slow down significantly. In fact, it can even extend your driveway lifespan because the seal coating holds the different structures of your driveway together like glue. So experts recommend that you get your asphalt driveway seal coated a year after installation, after which a fresh coat must be applied every three years.
2. Protect the edges
Among the most vulnerable spots of your new asphalt driveway are its edges. Weeds and grass can creep up into the asphalt, causing it to deteriorate and eventually fail.
To prevent the edges from falling away, backfilling is usually required. Moreover, you should not drive off or along the edges because this can easily break the edge off or lead to the development of cracks.
3. Inspect the driveway regularly and fix problems immediately
It is crucial for you to inspect the driveway often to detect any problem spot before it becomes worse. Once you notice a problem, make sure to fix it immediately to prevent it from getting bigger and more expensive to repair, especially when you are currently living in an area with freezing temperatures during winter.
In a winter setting, be aware that when water gets into those cracks, it freezes, thereby making the cracks larger. So by filling the cracks as early as possible, further damage can be avoided.
Water, even if it won’t freeze, can undermine the quality of your asphalt driveway. It can create pavement failures like potholes and alligator areas. If you suspect that the water pooling in your driveway is caused by a plumbing issue, contact a reputable plumber to fix the burst pipe first before dealing with the cracks.
4. Get rid of fuel spills
Regular unleaded gasoline, when spilled over the asphalt driveway, won’t cause immediate damage. But even if it will take some time for it to wreak significant damage, this does not mean that you should let the spills sit there for long – you still have to clean it up as quickly as possible.
As for diesel fuel, you should never let it spill over your driveway because it is the best asphalt solvent. In fact, one reason for asphalt degradation in roads is diesel spills. Diesel is capable of dissolving the binders in minutes, eventually leaving holes in your driveway. It’s no wonder some asphalt paving contractors sometimes use diesel to get rid of any asphalt on their hand tools and paving equipment.
5. Always keep your asphalt driveway clean
Keeping your asphalt driveway clean is crucial. Oil, for instance, can stain the asphalt, making it look gummy over time. Oil also attracts dirt and dust that can get into the grooves, allowing grass and weeds to invade your driveway.
Eventually, asphalt can become soft in these areas when it is not cleaned up immediately. Though experienced seal-coating contractors can cover them up, they emphasize that there is no permanent fix.
6. Work with expert asphalt paving contractors
Unless you have the right knowledge and skills, hiring reputable asphalt driveway contractors is your best move to keep your driveway looking its best. They can create a maintenance plan based on your driveway’s current condition and size.
Maintaining your asphalt driveway will certainly help save you from inconvenience, costly repairs and headaches later on. So if you have newly-installed asphalt paving in your property, follow the above tips from now on, and always involve the experts.
Ron Shattuck Jr. built Shattuck Paving into a trusted, reputable family business. Ron Jr. learned a lot about the industry and the hard work ethic that Ronald Sr. lived by, and has now followed in his father’s shoes to operate the company and help it grow. Today, Shattuck Paving is more determined than ever to serve their customers’ needs with integrity. No compromises!