Guide to Asphalt Driveway Maintenance
Asphalt is a durable and versatile paving material, making it ideal for driveways. However, like any investment, asphalt maintenance and care are crucial to ensure peak performance. Maintaining your asphalt driveway will ensure that it remains structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing for a longer period.
When not maintained, asphalt surfaces will start to display signs of wear and tear. Luckily, maintaining your asphalt surfaces is relatively simple. This guide will take you through signs to look out for and tips to help you maintain your asphalt driveway.
What Is Asphalt?
You might have heard of asphalt concrete (also called blacktop sometimes), but what is asphalt? Asphalt is a combination of concrete pebbles and rubble aggregates held together by a mix of petroleum.
Due to its cost-effectiveness, asphalt concrete is easily accessible and one of the best qualities you’ll find for domestic driveways. It’s also used to construct and maintain roads, parking areas, airport runways, and other types of pavements.
Signs of Damage and Items to Look Out for
By looking for signs of damage, you can tell whether your asphalt driveway is failing or undergoing wear and tear. Here are signs or indications that your asphalt driveway is failing and you need to fix it:
- Various cracks: Your asphalt might undergo cracking due to multiple factors, from poor maintenance to freezing temperatures, earthquakes, and tree roots. Cracking problems include alligator cracking, edge cracking, and block cracking.
- Rutting: Causes of rutting can include instability of the asphalt mixture, poor compaction, weakness of the base soil layers, or inadequate pavement thickness.
- Depressions: Depressions often indicate pavement surface failures due to poor initial construction, which undermines the asphalt over some time.
- Potholes: Potholes on a pavement surface often result from other types of distress that have not been appropriately addressed. For instance, failed patches, cracks, and segregation can form a pothole over time.
- Raveling: Raveling results from wear and tear of asphalt’s aggregate particles under traffic forces. The condition can be due to a poor-quality mixture of the asphalt or a hardened asphalt surface that’s no longer flexible and supple.
Caring for a Brand-New Driveway
If you’ve just installed an asphalt driveway, here are care and maintenance tips to help you keep your driveway in good shape for a long time:
Do not drive on your new asphalt driveway for at least the first 3-5 days. It’s best to wait for about 14 days before driving or parking on the new driveway because a new asphalt driveway is most vulnerable at this time.
Asphalt concrete takes a while to cure because it’s oil-based. For three months or so after your new asphalt driveway installation, you must take certain precautions to allow your driveway to cure properly.
- Do not park on your new asphalt driveway during the hottest part of the day; instead, park during the cool part of the day.
- Keep your boat jacks, bicycle and motorcycle stands, and any other sharp object off the asphalt surface.
- Do not turn the steering wheel after stopping your car.
- Avoid heavy trucks, like garbage trucks, on your new asphalt driveway.
It’s worth noting that when you install your asphalt driveway in the fall, curing of the driveway will stop once the weather turns cold and will resume in the spring.
5 Long-Term Care Tips for Your Asphalt Driveway
Your driveway pavement is durable only if it maintains its functional and structural integrity to a satisfactory level despite traffic loads and environmental effects. As such, continuing asphalt driveway maintenance is crucial. These tips will help ensure a longer lifespan and durability of your driveway.
1. Clean Your Asphalt Driveway Regularly
Cleaning your driveway is one of the simplest ways to maintain and ensure it looks good. Regularly cleaning your asphalt driveway will prevent it from getting damaged or stained, improve curb appeal, and increase the driveway’s lifespan. If you notice any gasoline and oil stains or spills, remove them immediately using a greasing agent made explicitly for asphalt pavements. Also, avoid gasoline and oil spills because oil-based materials can dissolve asphalt surfaces and cause deterioration.
2. Always Conduct a Visual Inspection
Conduct visual inspections on your asphalt driveway as you inspect the rest of your property. Proper care and maintenance of asphalt begins with visual inspections because a visual inspection will ensure that you don’t miss anything during your regular maintenance routines.
Inspect your driveway each season, particularly in summer and winter, because of the extreme temperatures. That way, you’ll be able to address minor repairs or seasonal imperfections immediately to avoid further damage. Failure to address asphalt driveway repairs on time can cause you financial strain.
3. Repair Cracks
When you notice cracks during your visual inspections, address them immediately. Depending on the severity of the cracks, they not only reduce the aesthetic appeal but can also weaken the driveway’s structural integrity, which could cause further deterioration. In addition, people can also trip, fall, and even get injuries due to asphalt cracks. Let a professional asphalt contractor help you repair your driveway cracks.
4. Sealcoat the Driveway Using High-Quality Seal
A quality asphalt seal on your driveway will help you ensure its integrity and maintain its visual appearance for years. How often you need to apply a seal will depend on the climate of your location. A seal coating adds a protective layer that will slow down the deterioration of the driveway, especially if you live in a place susceptible to freezing, heavy rains, thawing, snow, and UV rays.
5. Protect the Driveway Edges
The edges of an asphalt driveway are the weakest part of the driveway because they often lack side support. One way to protect your driveway edges and prevent them from cracking or crumbling down is by not driving on them. You can also build up the soil near the driveway’s sides to allow room for water drainage and sod growth. That will support the driveway edges and enhance the appearance once the grass is grown.
PDX ProWash for a Maintained Driveway That Will Last Longer
Proper asphalt driveway maintenance should be part of your routine property maintenance if you want to avoid costly repairs due to compromised integrity and durability of your driveway. If you want to ensure a long driveway lifespan, PDX ProWash experts are here to help you care for and maintain your driveway.
Contact us today to schedule professional asphalt driveway maintenance. You can also browse through our service page for other professional power washing and maintenance services you might need.