Tips for Maintaining Your New Asphalt Driveway
The 1st picture above shows an old unsealed driveway in N. Austin Texas being cleaned so that it can be properly seal coated. The second picture is of the cracks on the driveway being sealed with Hot Rubber Crack Filler. and the third picture is of the freshly sealed driveway.
Asphalt driveways can be a beautiful addition to any home. Moreover, they are typically durable, long-lasting and cost-effective. Also, installing asphalt isn’t that time-consuming. It only requires 1 to 2 days or less to dry and is ready for parking..
That said, asphalt is vulnerable to weathering and oxidation. And when damaged, they can really hurt your home’s curb appeal, functionality and value. So, as McCaw PM warns, maintaining your new asphalt driveway is key to keeping it nice.
In today’s post, we’ll take you through 6 tips on how you can maintain your brand-new asphalt driveway so that it lasts for several decades.
Things that Cause Asphalt Deterioration
Oxidation: Oxidation occurs when the asphalt is exposed to oxygen and then hardens and becomes gray. This weakens the asphalt making it less flexible, which may cause cracks to appear especially if heavy loads are involved.
Oil spots: Does your car leak oil? If it does, that can cause a problem with your new asphalt. If not cleaned quickly, it’ll soak into the surface causing it to break slowly, and eventually create a pothole.
Studded tires: Studded tires come in handy during those cold winter months. But what you might not know is that these can pose a great danger to your asphalt driveway, as they can create holes.
Rock salt: Sure, rock salt helps melt away stubborn ice. However, it can be bad for your asphalt driveway. That’s because it boosts the frequency of thaw/freeze cycles.
Tree roots: Trees help beautify our surroundings, purify our air, act as sound barriers, and manufacture precious oxygen for our lungs. However, if they are too close to your asphalt, their roots can damage it from beneath.
Heavy loads: If you are sharing your new asphalt driveway with heavy vehicles or equipment, chances are that it won’t last long. Heavy loads will make your asphalt break apart and will begin to settle unevenly. ( for this reason areas with heavy traffic are paved with concrete or the asphalt thickness is increased, most residential drives are two" thick wile areas with higher traffic are paved at 3" to 5" thick to support the heavy lads.)
Water: You should also keep water (even rainwater) away from your driveway. This is because if it pools near your driveway, it can seep through and wash away the sand and gravel base.
Poor installation: Improper installation of your new asphalt could also impact its durability. So, make sure you hire the right professionals for the job.
With that in mind, now let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to keep it properly maintained.
6 Tips for Maintaining Your New Asphalt Driveway
Tip #1: Drive carefully.
How you drive can impact on the longevity of your driveway. For instance, if you have the habit of turning your wheels while the car isn’t moving, you risk scratching your asphalt which can speed up its deterioration. While doing it once in a while won’t cause that much damage, doing it repeatedly on the same spot can cause lacerations. Likewise, avoid driving along the edge of your driveway. Doing so can cause the edges to flatten and begin crumbling away.
Tip #2: Keep sprinklers pointed away.
Water and asphalt don’t get along quite well. While it is okay to hose your driveway or for it to get wet when it rains, you should avoid subjecting it to moisture more than it’s necessary. So, if you use sprinklers to water your landscape, ensure they aren’t pointed towards your new asphalt.
Tip #3: Keep your driveway clean.
No, we are in no way suggesting that you put your driveway into a weekly cleaning list. But it won’t do any harm if you hose it down or sweep it every once in a while. Doing this helps get rid of debris, like broken glass, twigs, small pebbles, etc. Running over debris with your car causes friction and abrasion, which may over time cause the formation of cracks.
Tip #4: Change your parking spots. If possible, avoid parking over the same spot each and every time. This is because parking in the same spot may lead to permanent depressions in your driveway. This is especially true for newly installed asphalt. The same goes for any vehicles or trailers you keep parked and rarely use. Keep these off the driveway, if possible.
Tip #5: Avoid plants with invasive root systems.
You have probably seen tree roots buckling and cracking a concrete driveway. Root damage to the driveway usually consists of upheaval and looks like bumps on the driveway. This is not only an eyesore, but these raised, cracked bumps can also be a safety hazard.
Tip #6: Give your new asphalt time to harden. Once the asphalt has been laid , give it some time to harden to its normal consistency. While dependent on weather, this usually takes between 1 to 2 days to cure completely. If not sure about whether it’s ready or not, ask your contractor.
Having an asphalt driveway will add to your property’s aesthetics and overall value. It’s easy to install and maintain. Use these 6 tried-and-proven tips to take care of your driveway so that it will last for decades.