Asphalt Driveway Maintenance Tips

Asphalt DrivewayA well kept asphalt driveway can add a stunning component to a home. The dark black appearance adds a contrasting element to the rest of a colorful landscape. In addition, asphalt is a durable material than can provide years of service when maintained properly. In this article, we provide 6 tips that you should use to preserve your investment.

Regular Inspections

It may seem obvious, but it's a good idea to make a point of inspecting your driveway for any issues so as to detect issues early on. A glance here and there is not enough because you may miss a small chip or crack. In short, take the time to walk the entire surface of your asphalt driveway looking for any spills, damage or cracks. The sooner an issue is detected, the easier it is to fix. Over time, a small chip can turn in to a crack, which then turns into a pothole so be vigilant.

Fill Cracks in Asphalt

Small chips or cracks are the first sign of trouble on your driveway. Without treatment, they will only get worse so you need to get them fixed right away. Small cracks less than 1/8 of an inch can be fixed with sealer but larger cracks will need a bit more attention. Larger cracks or chips need to be cleaned and have loose material removed before being filled and sealed.

Sealcoat Your Driveway

Sealcoating is the best way to protect and preserve your asphalt driveway. Sealcoat fills in small chips and cracks, halting any problems before they get worse. In addition, it helps maintain the look of your driveway and curb appeal of your home so it's a good investment.

How often you sealcoat will depend on your climate and driveway usage. For example, if you routinely have heavy vehicles using the driveway, the surface will wear faster. Extreme weather will take its toll as well. As a rule, plan to sealcoat every 2 to 4 years on average and adjust that based on your specific conditions. An asphalt professional can provide advice and sealcoating services.

It should be noted that if you have a brand new asphalt driveway, you should wait at least 6 months for the asphalt to cure before applying sealcoat.

Keep Your Driveway Clean

Pebbles and stones can be very destructive to a driveway. We all know how much it can hurt to step on a rock. Likewise, a car rolling over a stone can cause a dent or chip in the asphalt surface. In turn, that chip can get bigger over time leading to more structural damage. As a result, it's important to keep your driveway free of rocks and debris as much as possible.

Take care to remove any spilled liquids from your vehicles as well. Automotive liquids like motor oil can penetrate and soften the asphalt making it more prone to damage. Use kitty litter to absorb motor oil or other contaminants and then wash the surface with dishwashing liquid and warm water. Older stains can be brushed using detergent and warm water using a regular scrub brush. Avoid wire brushes or scrubbing too hard so you don't damage the asphalt.

Reduce Standing Water

Downspout spreaderWater is the mortal enemy of asphalt. Standing water will seep through the top layer of asphalt, getting into the gravel substrate below. As a result, it can erode the structure beneath causing weakness that leads to cracks or holes. So dealing with water effectively is critical to the long term health of your driveway.

Your asphalt contractor should make sure the driveway is graded to allow for water runoff. Still, over time, depressions in the asphalt can allow puddles to form. Typically, these can be taken care of during the sealcoat process but it's good to be aware. If you see puddles on your driveway, make a plan to deal with it.

Another thing to look out for are your roof gutter downspouts. During heavy rain, a lot of water comes out with a degree of pressure that could impact the asphalt. If you can, use a drain extender to have the water empty into the yard or use a spreader to protect the asphalt.

Protect The Edges

The edges of your driveway can be vulnerable to heavy weight. Avoid parking vehicles near the edges and be careful when driving in or out so you don't run over the edges. Pay particular attention to the edges of your driveway during your inspections and get any damage repaired promptly.

Asphalt Maintenance

Asphalt is a durable product but is not impervious to damage. The challenge is to keep a small chip or crack from becoming a bigger issue over time. As a result, routine inspection and repair is the key to extending the life of the driveway.