Asphalt driveways are clean, sleek, and highly durable. They can be driven on just 24 hours after laying, as opposed to waiting a week for concrete to cure. With proper maintenance, they are unlikely to develop major problems that could lead to expensive repairs, and they are not prone to staining (concrete) or dust and debris (gravel). However, the main weakness of an asphalt driveway lies in its vulnerable edges. Here is what you need to know to protect your driveway’s edges.
Asphalt Vs. Concrete Driveway Edges
When compared to the edges of a concrete driveway, the edges of an asphalt driveway look very different. Concrete is installed using rectangular forms, so the edges are straight and crisp. Asphalt is installed with a paving machine, so the edges tend to be a bit rough. They also have a bit of an angle to them. This angle is actually what improves the durability of asphalt edges.
While both concrete and asphalt are prone to cracking, the repair process is different. Asphalt cracks are simpler and less expensive to repair than concrete cracks when caught early, but patching requires there to be solid asphalt on all sides of the crack. If the vulnerable edges of your asphalt driveway crack, a patch will not be effective.
What Is Asphalt Grading?
Asphalt grading is the process of creating a 45-degree angle along the edges of the asphalt. This helps to transfer the stresses from the asphalt into the solid ground beside it. As the driveway is rolled and compacted, the edges are additionally compacted using rakes. This provides the visual appearance of the driveway settling into the topsoil beside it, while simultaneously adding durability and minimizing the likelihood of cracking along the edges.
Protect Driveway Edges With Landscaping
One of the best ways to help protect the edges of your asphalt driveway is through landscaping. After the driveway is installed, consider installing new topsoil to the height of the driveway. Another option is to use a harder landscaping material such as rock or stone. This will help to further transition the forces that are applied to the asphalt and minimize the risk of cracking.
How To Extend The Life Of An Asphalt Driveway
Remain aware of the vulnerable edges of your new asphalt driveway. Avoid driving or parking too close to the edge. Also keep lawn mowers and other heavy equipment away from the driveway edges. Remember that, while it is relatively easy to patch asphalt cracks, it is difficult or impossible to restore broken edges, as there is nothing for the patch to grab onto. Err on the side of caution by subjecting the driveway edges to as little stress as possible, and your asphalt driveway should remain strong and beautiful 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!