A clean, well-maintained asphalt driveway adds to your home’s curb appeal. Exposure to the elements and vehicle traffic can take a toll on the driveway surface, leaving it looking tired, worn, and full of cracks and holes that can trip your family or damage your car.
Although any concrete driveway or asphalt driveway won’t last forever, you can put off the need to invest in a new residential driveway with regular maintenance. The time you spend keeping the driveway free of water, debris, and damaging wear and tear can help delay the expense of having a paving company replace it. To help keep driveway costs in check, follow these easy maintenance steps.
Keeping your asphalt driveway clean does more than help your home appear tidy and improve curb appeal. Allowing debris and dirt to remain on the pavement can contribute to excessive wear and tear and cause damage.
Sweeping and washing the asphalt also makes it easier to spot signs of deterioration or damage, like small cracks. The sooner you address minor issues, the longer the asphalt will last.
Vehicle fluids, especially oil and gas, are bad news for asphalt driveways. They can dissolve the driveway materials, softening them and causing cracks that lead to potholes. Using harsh chemicals to manage ice can also damage the driveway by corroding the asphalt surface.
To protect against damage, do your best to avoid chemical spills, and if one does occur, clean it up immediately. Materials like sawdust or kitty litter absorb excess liquid and help minimize damage. After containing the spill, clean the asphalt with detergent and a wire brush and rinse the remaining residue. Removing spills and stains from colored asphalt is especially important for maintaining the driveway’s appearance.
It’s impossible to keep a driveway surface from ever getting wet. Water is asphalt’s enemy, and ignoring standing water allows moisture to seep into the asphalt and cause cracks and potholes.
Ensure lawn sprinklers are pointed away from the driveway, and watch for areas where water seems to pool after rainstorms. These indicate a drainage issue, which a driveway paving company may be able to repair. A new driveway may be the only solution to a widespread issue where the asphalt has multiple low spots or water isn’t draining from the surface.
Allowing weeds and grass to grow in driveway cracks is a fast track to new asphalt driveway installation. When plants grow unchecked, the roots will spread, pushing the asphalt further apart and creating larger crevices that eventually become potholes.
An overgrown, weed-filled residential driveway also detracts from curb appeal. Your home will look neglected and unkempt. Pull out all plants as soon as they appear, and take steps to keep them from returning, like filling cracks and using a spot weed killer.
The edges of your driveway are the weakest areas, and neglecting them can cause cracking and crumbling. Asphalt paving companies usually add dirt along the edges to provide strength. However, you still need to take care to prevent damage.
Avoid driving on the edges as much as possible, and pay close attention to weeds and plants growing next to the pavement. Roots can extend under the driveway, especially from trees and shrubs, and push up on the asphalt from underneath. Pull out weeds as soon as they appear, and avoid planting—or relocate—large hedges, shrubs, and trees next to the driveway.
Sealing cracks in an asphalt driveway as soon as you see them prevents them from causing more widespread damage. A small gap may not seem to be a big concern, but if water, chemicals, or weeds get in, the crack will worsen and cause potholes. Fill small cracks immediately, and take time to inspect the driveway surface for new damage every few months so you can stay ahead of them.
For anyone asking, “How long does an asphalt driveway last?” the answer often comes down to whether they sealcoat the surface every few years. Sealcoating your driveway slows deterioration and helps maintain the asphalt’s appearance. The coating protects against UV rays, moisture, chemical spills, and oxidation while giving the asphalt a fresh and smooth appearance.
Most contractors also fill and repair cracks before sealcoating. The application extends the driveway’s lifespan, allowing you to put off a replacement for as long as possible.
Local homeowners rely on EarthTek for residential driveway paving, maintenance, and repairs. This family-owned and -operated company can handle any asphalt driveway job, no matter how big or small. Call them today at 408-478-9402 for a free, no-obligation estimate.