An asphalt driveway is a major investment for homeowners. While asphalt is a great choice for a driveway, there are some asphalt driveway maintenance items every homeowner should follow to help protect and extend the life of their driveway.
What Causes Asphalt to Fail?
There are multiple reasons for your asphalt driveway to fail. Water intrusion into the base will weaken the base and can lead to failure of the driving surface. Heavy vehicles, such as concrete trucks or dump trucks can cause stress on your driveway. Freeze-thaw cycles when there is water in the base or in cracks on the surface can cause issues for your driveway. Oxidation of the asphalt binders will cause your driveway to lose its pliability, resulting in cracking. The majority of asphalt failure starts as some form of cracking. If and when your driveway starts cracking you will want to contact an asphalt contractor quickly to have the cracks fixed.
Preventive Maintenance for Your Asphalt Driveway
Following the tips below will help length the useful life of your driveway and keep it looking good to.
Inspect on a Regular Basis
Spend a few minutes every month to walk your driveway looking for any potential issues. Look for any cracks starting to form, also look at the edges of your driveway to make sure they are still in good shape. If you see any issues contact an asphalt maintenance contractor to have them inspect these issues.
If you have an irrigation system, periodically check that sprinkler heads are not broken and are not watering your driveway.
Keep It Clean
Dirt, tree leaves and tree sap can cause your asphalt to wear faster. Brooming or hosing of your driveway every month or so will help keep your driveway clean.
Prevent Chemical Spills
Oil and Gas spills need to be cleaned up right away. If left on asphalt these chemicals over time will cause the asphalt to become soft in those areas, making it more prone to water intrusion.
Protect the Edge
The edges of your driveway are the weakest points. Avoid driving on the edges. If possible, add top soil and plant grass to help reinforce the edges. You will want to keep the topsoil 1” below the height of the driveway, to provide good drainage from the driveway.
Standing Water/ Puddles
Water is not your driveway’s friend. If you have standing water on your driveway, you will want to have a driveway contractor take a look to see if there is easy fix to solving this problem. Sometimes, its as easy as rerouting a gutter down spot to drain into the grass. Standing water can eventually lead to potholes.
Repair potholes as soon as you see them. Potholes left alone will increase in size in a short order. A 4” pothole can become a 4’ pothole in a matter of weeks.
Seal & Repair Cracks
Cracks allow water to penetrate the base. During the freeze thaw cycle this can cause asphalt to buckle and crack more. Crack sealer helps prevent this.
Its not common to have weeds growing in asphalt, it does happen. As the weeds grow they will push the asphalt up and out allowing for water to get into the base material. Its best to spot spray the weeds with a herbicide to ensure the root system is killed.
Follow a Sealcoating Schedule and Use A Quality Sealer
Sealcoating will help slow down the oxidization of your asphalt. Oxidize asphalt loses its flexibility and is more prone to cracking. A quality sealer will fill in hairline cracks and fill any small surface voids. We recommend to have your driveway seal coated every 3 years.