Maintaining the sleek black look of a freshly-laid asphalt driveway requires regular crack filling and sealcoating. Asphalt naturally degrades over time, but these regular maintenance tasks will help maximize both curb appeal and the length of time before the driveway needs to be replaced. You'll also need to keep water from collecting around the asphalt and minimize the amount of heavy vehicle traffic that the driveway receives in order to reduce damage.
Fill Cracks In Your Asphalt Driveway Annually
Filling the cracks in your driveway prevents water from entering into the subgrade; water both erodes the asphalt over time and can cause the subgrade to shift, making your asphalt driveway more likely to form cracks. Every year, you should seal all the cracks that have appeared in your driveway with crack filler designed for asphalt driveways. Ideally, this should be done shortly before the winter. This is when the asphalt has contracted the most due to outside temperature, and is the point when the cracks in your driveway will be widest; it also ensures that the asphalt is protected from water intrusion before temperatures dip below freezing. Frost can do major damage to asphalt driveways; water expands as it turns into ice, widening cracks and even causing the asphalt to break apart.
Sealcoat Your Driveway Every Three To Five Years
Sealcoating your asphalt driveway extends its longevity by blocking the harmful effects of sunlight. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes the surface of the asphalt to oxidize, and this oxidation reduces the ability of the asphalt to bind together. The asphalt will become more brittle and more susceptible to cracking from vehicle traffic. There are a few different types of asphalt sealant on the market and some are banned in certain municipalities due to environmental concerns, so make sure that you check local regulations or ask a paving contractor what is allowable in your area. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how often you will need to sealcoat your asphalt; tar-based sealers usually need to be applied every three to five years, whereas asphalt-based sealers sometimes need to be applied each year. While sealcoating your driveway yourself is not a complicated job, it can be very physically demanding and the process cannot be stopped partway through; you have to sealcoat the entire driveway at once for an effective seal. If you are unsure of your ability to sealcoat your driveway, you can hire a paving contractor to perform the task for you.
Prevent Pools Of Water Around Your Driveway
Since water can cause a lot of damage to asphalt driveways, you'll need to make sure it's not pooling on your driveway or around the edges. Landscaping projects or natural soil erosion over time can change the way that water drains out of your yard, so you will have to periodically check the drainage around your driveway. You should also make sure that there's no overgrown grass or weeds near the edges of the driveway, as these can trap moisture near the asphalt and prevent water from draining out of the subgrade. If you have problems with drainage, you can dig small trenches in affected areas to divert water away from your driveway.
Keep Construction Vehicles Off Of Your Driveway
The amount of damage that vehicle traffic does to your asphalt driveway is proportional to the weight of the vehicle. Heavy construction vehicles can rapidly destroy even deep layers of asphalt used in parking lots; you'll need to be careful whenever you are doing any home renovations. For example, if you're cleaning or renovating your home and have a lot of trash to throw out, you may end up contacting a dumpster service company that uses garbage trucks to remove waste from your home. If at all possible, don't let them drive on your driveway, since the weight of the truck is easily capable of shattering the asphalt.
For more information, contact companies like Mariotti Site Development Co Inc.