If you’ve just installed a new asphalt driveway, you’re probably looking for ways to protect your investment. The good news is asphalt driveways are extremely durable and can last up to 20 years when properly cared for. The length of your driveway’s life can depend on temperature changes and the climate where you live, as well as how well it is maintained. Let’s talk about how much maintenance your asphalt driveway needs to keep it looking great.
Regular Asphalt Driveway Maintenance
Asphalt driveway maintenance is all about preventative care. Regular maintenance tasks can aid in preventing the early degradation of the surface, as well as protect it from the dangers of erosion due to climate and everyday use. The most important maintenance items are to fill small cracks and clean your asphalt driveway.
1. Filling Cracks on your Asphalt Driveway
Any cracks should be filled as soon as you notice them. Leaving them alone for too long exposes the surface, which can lead to erosion from water and oxidation. Long term exposure can cause the cracks to grow or even turn into potholes, which are more extensive and expensive to repair. Filling cracks is the first defense against deeper damage and is an easy thing to do. You can even do it yourself with sealant purchased at your local hardware store.
Here's a helpful tip! Mark a date each fall to do a thorough inspection of your asphalt surface for cracks and then fill them completely. Having all cracks sealed before winter will ensure no moisture can get in where it could freeze and cause cracks to expand in the cold. Keep in mind, if you already have deeper cracks or potholes, you’ll need to patch them. Some you might be able to repair yourself, but having an experienced contractor take care of any extensive asphalt driveway repairs will be better for your driveway in the long run.
2. Cleaning your Asphalt Driveway
Cleaning will not only keep your driveway looking fresh and new, but it will also help it last longer! This can easily be done by sweeping, washing, and treating any stubborn stains.
Sweeping: Occasionally sweep your driveway to remove any fallen leaves, sticks, and other debris. Decaying organic material can leave stains on the pavement.
Washing: Wash your driveway with soap and water, using a scrub brush, and then always give it a final rinse to remove the dirt and suds. Washing your asphalt driveway is easy to do each spring, and can quickly and effectively make your driveway look like new again. Power washing is not necessary.
Removing Stains: Salt and other ice-melting products are usually safe to use on your asphalt driveway, but can leave a discoloration on your driveway’s surface. A thorough scrub should remove salt deposits. Tougher oil stains won’t affect your driveway’s integrity, but can stand out and detract from your home’s curb appeal. If you can catch them quickly, use kitty litter to soak up the oil before it sets in. To remove existing stains, you can try using a degreasing product or call a professional to remove the stain without damaging your driveway.
Long-Term Asphalt Driveway Maintenance
It’s always a good idea to have your asphalt driveway sealed, and is generally recommended to be done every 3 years. Sealing coats the driveway with an extra layer of protection that boosts the asphalt’s defense against oxidation. It also refreshes your driveway’s appearance, restoring the rich, dark color. You can either seal it yourself or have it done by a professional sealcoating company. Make sure you pick a clear day as your driveway will need to stay dry for 24 hours after sealing.
After many years, you may need to consider more serious repairs like patching or resurfacing. However, if you keep-up with regular asphalt driveway maintenance, it will be a long time before you need to worry about that!
Asphalt Driveway Maintenance Take-Aways
Keep these key things in mind when caring for your asphalt driveway:
Make repairs, such as filling small cracks, as soon as you see them.
Seal your asphalt driveway every 3 years, but not more often than that. Sealing too early or too often can actually shorten your driveway’s life.
Routine sweeping, and/or giving your asphalt driveway a quick wash, can do wonders for its appearance and extend its life.
If you can, avoid parking heavy equipment on your asphalt driveway — particularly in the extreme heat. This will help to prevent tire-marks and stains.
Take care when removing snow to avoid nicks or gashes, but feel free to use salt and other de-icing formulas on your asphalt driveway.
Could your asphalt driveway use a little TLC? Get in touch with the team at Central Asphalt! We do everything from patching and repairs, to the complete installation of new asphalt driveways. If you're not sure what your driveway needs, we can help there, too. Get in touch with our team and we'll offer a free, no obligation, personalized driveway assessment.