Asphalt driveways normally last for about 20 years. However, the way you treat them can make them last a bit longer or, if they are mistreated, significantly reduce their lifespan. To maximize the life of your asphalt driveway, follow these four simple tips.
Minimize Water Intrusion
Water is considered nature’s solvent, and water intrusion can wreak havoc on your asphalt driveway. A properly installed driveway should provide natural runoff from rainwater and incidental soaking, but unnatural water sources can lead to pooling. Standing water will erode your driveway from the top down. To guard against this, keep a close eye on your sprinklers and irrigation system. Adjust them to prevent or minimize driveway spray.
Underground water intrusion is also a major concern. Your asphalt driveway sits on a foundation of dirt and aggregate material. Water can undermine that foundation, causing it to become unstable and eventually crack. This can lead to potholes and even total asphalt failure.
Keep an eye on your water pressure as well as your water bill. A sudden drop in pressure or spike in your bill could indicate a leaking pipe or other issues. If you have a landscaper, ask him or her to alert you immediately of any possible signs of leaking.
Keep Your Asphalt Driveway Clean
Dirt and debris are major contributors to pooling and standing water. Pay close attention to the edges of your driveway, curb openings near your home, and other areas where debris can accumulate. Failure to keep these areas clean restricts water flow, preventing it from being dispersed to proper drainage areas. If you notice any standing water, this should be the first check you make.
Don’t Forget About Other Fluids
Water may be known as nature’s solvent, but oil, gasoline, and other vehicle fluids are very strong solvents as well. Over time these fluids, as well as such common household chemicals as antifreeze and paint thinner, can erode your asphalt driveway and cause it to fail. Keep your vehicles properly maintained, make sure all containers are properly capped, and always thoroughly rinse away any driveway spills.
Inspect & Repair Your Asphalt Driveway
While prevention is crucial, the reality is that asphalt driveways take quite a beating. Have your driveway professionally inspected at least once per year, or whenever you start to notice damage. An experienced asphalt contractor can check for signs of weakening, carry out repairs if needed, and give you advice for protecting your driveway in the future.
Seal coating is a procedure in which the asphalt is covered with a protective layer of sealant. This helps to lock out the fluids that can damage your driveway. It is not foolproof, so you must still be cautious, but it can dramatically boost the driveway’s lifespan. Have the initial seal coat applied approximately six months after the driveway is installed, and plan to reapply it every two to three years, or as directed by your professional inspector.
Minor driveway damage is easy to repair, but if you ignore it, the damage will worsen over time. As soon as you notice small cracks forming, fill them in with a liquid patching compound. If the damage is more severe, ask your professional asphalt contractor for advice.
Surface patching, in which a few inches of asphalt are milled off the top and replaced, is generally the best solution for moderate damage. Dig out patching, in which an entire section of asphalt is removed and replaced from the ground up, can often save a driveway with a few failed sections. Resurfacing is generally necessary for extensively damaged driveways. It is less costly than replacement, but restores the structural strength and visual appeal of the driveway.
Asphalt driveways normally have a lifespan of around 20 years, but the decisions you make can shorten or lengthen that result. Proper care and maintenance are absolutely essential for a long-lasting, good-looking driveway that you can enjoy for many years to come.
Based in Abbotsford, Topwest Asphalt also serves Langley, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge. Are you ready to start your next asphalt project with a team you can count on to do the job right, on time, and on budget? We invite you to call Topwest Asphalt today at 1-800-ASPHALT to discuss your project and schedule an estimate. We look forward to working with you!