Keeping Things Fresh: The 411 on Asphalt Driveway Maintenance
As a homeowner, you want your house to look great at all times and staying on top of your home’s exterior maintenance is key in making that happen. In fact, doing so can increase your home’s value by as much as 10 percent while also keeping your homeowners association happy.
But for most homeowners, the most neglected part of their home’s exterior is the driveway. A damaged driveway can make your house look run-down and can even hurt your property value.
The best thing you can do is stay on top of your asphalt driveway maintenance. Here are a few simple tips to help.
Don’t Use Newly Paved Driveways Immediately
If you’re installing a new asphalt driveway or getting new pavement spread over an existing driveway, you’re going to feel tempted to use it right away. Unfortunately, this can and will damage your new pavement.
Asphalt needs time to cure and set. In most cases, you’ll be able to park your car in the driveway within 24 hours of the installation. But it depends on the weather conditions.
When in doubt, ask your asphalt contractor for a timeline and don’t drive or walk on the pavement until the recommended time. This will keep your driveway looking like new for longer and will prevent most of the common issues homeowners experience.
Keep It Clean
Asphalt is incredibly durable, but fluid leaks and road grime can cause it to break down prematurely. When this happens, you’ll be at an increased risk for potholes, cracks, and pitting.
The best thing you can do is keep it clean. Sweep away road grime and dirty snow to keep unwanted chemicals off the surface. If you notice that your car has fluid leaks, rinse the fluids off as soon as possible.
If the stains are stubborn, you can always try washing them off with dish soap. Apply the soap directly to the stain, add water, and scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. This should help lift up the stain without damaging the asphalt.
Seal All Cracks and Damage
Minor cracks will happen, but even those minor issues can turn into major problems if they’re not sealed quickly. As the temperatures change, the asphalt expands and contracts. This causes the cracks to get bigger, but if they’re sealed, the asphalt won’t break apart as quickly.
If you notice a crack, contact your asphalt driveway maintenance team and let them fix the damage. The sooner it gets taken care of, the safer the rest of the driveway will be.
Be Careful When Choosing Ice Melt
Believe it or not, some types of ice melt can hurt the coating on your asphalt driveway. The same chemicals that help it melt snow and ice quickly also dissolve the protective coating.
Over the course of a long winter, you could end up doing serious damage to the pavement.
Use a magnesium chloride or an environmentally friendly option instead of standard rock salt. Regular ice melt will eat through the finish, increasing your risk of cracks, water damage, and potholes.
Avoid Overloading the Pavement
Consider this: the average car weighs just under 3,000 pounds. Your driveway can easily support the weight of several cars at once, especially when those cars leave for hours at a time.
But when you’re parking heavier loads and leaving them for extended periods of time, your driveway will start to have problems. Asphalt can’t stand up to incredibly heavy loads for very long.
It cracks under the weight and, depending on the overall weight, the ground beneath the pavement can get compacted. Your paving contractor can repair the damage, but it’s best to prevent it in the first place.
Avoid parking heavy loads like motorhomes, portable storage units, and heavy equipment on your driveway for extended periods of time. If you do need to house those items on your driveway, move them every once in a while to spread out the load.
Sealcoat the Surface As Needed
One of the best ways to protect your asphalt driveway is to sealcoat it every few years. Sealcoating creates a protective barrier over your asphalt, making it harder for caustic liquids, UV rays, and damaging weather conditions to damage the pavement.
When done as part of your standard asphalt maintenance routine, it can make your driveway last up to 30 years.
If you’re unsure of whether your driveway needs a fresh sealcoating, contact your paving contractor. They’ll be able to inspect the surface for wear and tear and can let you know if it’s time or if the pavement can go another year between coats.
Stay on Top of Weeding
Weeds are one of the most common hazards residential asphalt driveways face. Their roots creep under the pavement and start to push new growth up through the asphalt. This creates weak spots in the pavement and can make your home’s exterior look less pristine.
The best thing you can do start weeding regularly. Remove new weeds along the sides of your driveway as soon as you notice them. If you see any weeds growing in cracks in the pavement, get rid of them quickly.
The sooner you get rid of existing weeds, the less likely they are to spread to new parts of your driveway.
Inspect It Once a Month
It’s hard to take care of preventative asphalt driveway maintenance if you don’t know when the pavement needs a little TLC. Get in the habit of inspecting the surface once a month.
Walk the entire driveway and look for signs of discoloration or loose pavement. If you see anything that looks out of place or you're worried about a minor crack, schedule a professional inspection as soon as possible.
The sooner those minor issues get fixed, the less likely they are to lead to a costly repair.
Follow These Asphalt Driveway Maintenance Tips for Best Results
Keeping your driveway in good shape doesn’t have to be a challenge. These asphalt driveway maintenance tips will help you keep your pavement looking like-new for years to come.
But if you notice any issues or just want a second opinion, don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule an inspection and let our pros take a look. We’ll make sure your pavement is in great shape for years to come.