For countless homeowners, asphalt is the material of choice for their home's driveway. Asphalt is easy to install, durable and lasts a long time. It has low maintenance costs, and its black color is an excellent addition to any home exterior. But to retain the benefits of the driveway, homeowners must know how to maintain it from day one.
Despite its durability and longevity, asphalt is susceptible to a fair number of threats. And if homeowners are not careful to follow the proper maintenance routine, warns Real Property Group, they may be disappointed to find their new driveway deteriorating.
To enjoy your new driveway's benefits, for as long as possible, here are the best ways to care for it.
1. Let it cure fully
A new asphalt driveway can take 12 to 18 months to cure, and at this time, it is easy for the driveway to get damaged. Until four days after the installation, there should be no vehicles or walking on the driveway.
However, even after the asphalt is dry enough to permit driving, heavy vehicles or equipment should not be allowed. Additionally, you should avoid turning the car steering when the car is stationary on the driveway.
Other things to avoid on a newly-laid driveway are:
These precautions should be observed for one year after the installation of the driveway.
2. Seal-coat the driveway
Most driveway repaving is due to a lousy sealing job. To avoid having to repave your driveway, you should seal it every year in the first three years. The first coating should be applied 60-90 days from the date of installation.
In addition to sealing it yearly, the quality of sealing material used on the driveway is essential. Good quality seals penetrate deeply to keep water from getting into the surface and protect the driveway from cracking. Water- and latex-based sealing materials should be avoided.
Even though they are cheap, they contain additives that dry out the surface and cause it to crack within a few years. High-grade materials, like petroleum-based asphalt, are best. They cost more but will save you the cost of repaving your driveway.
3. Protect your driveway's edges
New asphalt driveways are prone to begin falling apart from their edges. To make sure this does not happen, you should never drive off the driveway or along with it. Doing this would cause the edges to break off or cause cracks to appear in the driveway.
To further protect the driveway, the edges should be backfilled with topsoil to keep it from falling away. Additional care should be taken to ensure that areas with mulch, lawn, and gravel are backfilled with extra topsoil layers.
4. Keep the driveway clear of water
Water is the enemy of asphalt; it is especially dangerous to new driveways. If water penetrates the asphalt, it will cause it to wear and tear prematurely. Water is even more damaging if it contains chemicals like antifreeze and oil, which will devastate the asphalt.
Since it is impossible to keep water completely off the driveway, the focus should be to prevent the driveway from cracking, rutting, and getting stripped away by water. Water damage can be restricted by cleaning gutters so that they do not overflow onto the driveway, filling cracks before they get more extensive and seal coating the driveway.
5. Avoid fuel spills
Under normal circumstances, unleaded gasoline will not damage your driveway. But if left to sit on the surface for too long, even gasoline may hurt your driveway. Gasoline spills should be cleaned immediately. But what should never be allowed to spill on the driveway is diesel.
Diesel is the best solvent for asphalt, and if it gets on the driveway, it will dissolve the binders in the asphalt and cause it to disintegrate. This will loosen the materials in your driveway and make it easy for them to get washed away. For the safety of your driveway, keep diesel far away from it.
6. Protect it from grass and weeds
Never leave grass clippings on the driveway; they may contain grass seeds that will find their way into the asphalt cracks. Grass and weed growth in the asphalt will widen existing cracks and make it easier for water to penetrate the surface.
To keep grass from growing on the asphalt, the driveway's edge should be trimmed regularly. If possible, use cement or other material to create a border on both sides of the driveway. Also, weed or grass found growing on the asphalt should be killed with a weed killer, and the crack filled.
Other ways to protect the driveway include:
Following these simple rules will allow you to enjoy the most of your driveway for many years. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a free estimate on your new asphalt driveway project, give us a call at 309-324-3800.