Asphalt paving generally has a life expectancy of 20-30 years. While asphalt is typically resilient and can sustain high use, a variety of variables can contribute to its degradation, including exposure to damaging elements such as water, chemical spills, UV radiation, and even oxygen. When left untreated, even a little fracture can cause considerable damage and costly repairs. Here are 5 ways that can ensure you get the longest usable lifespan from your asphalt paving driveway.
Let it fully harden before using when freshly installed
Asphalt hardens and cures rapidly, allowing you to walk and drive on it within 24 hours. However, the longer you let asphalt sit and cure undisturbed, the less chance of damage, so if possible, wait at least 48 hours before driving on it. In addition, very warm weather keeps asphalt soft and malleable. If you put new asphalt during the hot summer months, you should wait several days before utilizing your new asphalt paving. Spraying it with water might sometimes assist at this stage. As a result, it is best to avoid scheduling asphalt repairs for temperatures exceeding 38 degrees celsius.
It is best to lay asphalt in the spring or early summer, but keep in mind that it cannot be done while it is raining. In cold weather, the asphalt may begin to harden before the crews have completed their work, leaving you with lumps or irregularities in the pavement that can only be repaired by beginning again. In addition, parking in the same position on uncured asphalt repeatedly might result in dents where the wheels rest. This is more of an issue with driveways, but it may also be an issue if your parking lot has allotted places. Make it clear to individuals that they should try not to park in the same spot every day to avoid this. Your asphalt installation contractor may additionally highlight any reason why you should not drive on your new asphalt within one day, such as warmer temperatures or thin layers of blacktop.
Keep it clean and remove spills
Spills or leaks from parked automobiles may discolor or, if it is made of petrochemical compounds, may directly harm your asphalt pavement and should be cleaned up the moment they are noticed. Depending on the substance, you may need to soak up the spill, in which case cat litter might come handy because of how well it absorbs liquids. In addition, leaks from automotive radiators or transmissions can create stains and damage to the asphalt and should be cleaned up as soon as possible. For oil stains, scrub the stain thoroughly with a wide bristle brush until it begins to separate noticeably. If there is a lot of oil, absorb it with cat litter or sand. After scrubbing, rinse the residual stain with water and apply powdered laundry detergent to it. For radiator coolant, you can utilize degreasers If you have access to one. Allow the degreaser to soak in for 5 minutes before thoroughly scrubbing with a stiff brush. Finally, hose down the area with water and detergent, followed by a pressure wash.
Remove standing water
One of the most harmful factors to a driveway is water. After a decent rainfall, there should be little to no standing water on your asphalt driveway. Your driveway should have been installed with proper drainage and a firm underlying graded base layer to assist your driveway deal with rain and snow, among other things. Natural sinking and erosion can develop over time, and frequently parking heavy things such as vehicles and trucks can generate compression zones where water gathers. Water gathering in these depressions will speed the aging of your driveway by expanding minor fractures and causing erosion under the asphalt. Standing water is even worse in freezing areas since it can lead to the creation of ice, which helps to widen minor fractures and defects. If you discover that your driveway has gathered water where it never used to, contact a driveway paving contractor to inspect it. Puddles on your driveway may be the first indicator of a larger issue.
Regularly seal coat your driveway
While asphalt is a long-lasting material, it is insufficient for the longevity of your driveway. Over time, exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, oil, snow, and other pollutants will cause it to fracture or brittle. It may have a negative influence on the curb appeal of your driveway if it is not fixed. In the worst-case situation, cracks might develop to potholes, which can cost you money. Sealcoating provides an additional layer of protection to your asphalt surface. You can be confident that properly maintaining your asphalt by sealing it will increase the life of your driveway. If you own a home, it may potentially increase the value of your property with a properly maintained and new looking driveway.
UV rays have a negative impact on asphalt pavement. When repeatedly exposed, its binder, the glue that keeps the sand and stone together, deteriorates gradually. As oxidation advances, your asphalt will lose oil and become harder. It will continue to dry out, especially if there is a lot of heavy traffic. When this happens, fractures begin to appear. If you do not remedy this, water will seep into your pavement foundation, causing severe damage. It may cause micro-holes and even alligator cracks, which may be costly to fix. Sealcoating is the most effective approach to slow down the oxidation process. The sealant provides further protection against these dangerous rays.
Mend cracks and holes before they get bigger
Putting off getting cracks and holes mended while they are little and readily repaired just makes the problem worse and more expensive to cure. Once there is a clear hole in the asphalt surface, the carefully prepared foundation layer is vulnerable to water erosion and will deteriorate rapidly. Small holes and cracks can be readily fixed with seal coating. However, bigger holes may need cutting away from the damaged asphalt, repairing and compacting the underlying aggregate, and then applying a new asphalt layer also known as a patch. Fixing cracks and holes before freezing temperatures occur is vital in maintaining your asphalt driveway. Once snow or water enters the crack it can easily widen with the water freezing and then melting in the spring. That one small crack is now larger after the end of the cold season and will only continue to get bigger. Fix cracks and holes before they become a major issue to address.
When properly maintained, asphalt is an investment that will last a long time. Dealing with seemingly minor issues and avoiding them from developing in the first place might save you costs in the long run on repairs and replacement. A well maintained asphalt paving driveway improves your home’s or business’ curb appeal.