Your asphalt driveway can serve your household for decades if it’s treated and maintained properly. When properly paved, it’s one of the first things that visitors will notice about your home, and it’s high on a checklist for buyers should your home be put up for sale. If you’ve recently had a driveway paved, there are a few steps to get you started in the right direction so that you and your family can enjoy a driveway in good condition for years to come.
The first couple of weeks after your driveway has been paved are crucial to its longevity. At a couple of days old, it’s fine to drive onto it, but parking for any length of time should wait until it’s at least 2 weeks old. With a curing process of 90 to 120 days, the longer you can keep your asphalt driveway clear of vehicles after it’s been poured, the better it can cure and will be able to withstand pressures afterwards. Even after a couple of weeks have passed, keep parked vehicles (boats, recreational vehicles, for example) on pieces of plywood to keep tires or other paraphernalia from sinking into the driveway and making uneven low spots or dents. Avoid parking on the driveway when temperatures are very hot, and once you’ve parked ensure that you keep your tires straight (don’t turn the wheel). If your driveway was poured in the fall, be aware that curing will come to a halt once temperatures drop, and begin again once temperatures warm up in the spring. Take this into account when determining your entire curing process and act accordingly.
To keep your asphalt in top condition, avoid getting any gas or oil spills on its surface. Both of these can cause the asphalt to deteriorate. If you see any cracks, fill them immediately. The crack should be scoured clean, rinsed with a pressure washer to remove any and all loose debris, and only then filled with the appropriate crack filler. If you don’t repair cracks quickly enough, moisture has the ability to penetrate the asphalt surface and do further damage. Even if that doesn’t happen, leaving cracks and holes in your asphalt makes it vulnerable to weeds or grass growing through it, which makes for a very unkempt looking property! Regular maintenance also includes snow removal and cleaning any debris that might mark or damage the surface.
The best way to protect your asphalt is with a good quality sealcoat. The first coat should be applied within the first 9 months after your driveway is paved, and repeated every 3 years. A sealcoat will help to fix and protect the oils in your asphalt, retain its’ flexibility, improve the surface appearance, and increase longevity. When choosing your sealcoat, ensure that it isn’t old or of low quality. Only a good quality sealcoat will give your driveway the durable top it requires to withstand the physical and environmental elements that regular use will expose it to.