Some basic tips to help you maintain your asphalt driveway.
New driveways are more fragile
New asphalt pavements are malleable, which means they will adapt their shape to the surface beneath them and any outside forces acting upon them. So it is important to avoid placing any objects on the pavement that can concentrate weight in a small area. This is important in the summer because of the increase in temperature, especially if they driveway is in direct sunlight for long periods.
If you have a new driveway you should try to avoid:
Over time your new driveway will become less soft as the pavement oxidizes and hardens.
Support the sides of the driveway.
Make sure the edges of your driveway offer support to the pavement. In some cases, a newly built driveway will be one or more inches higher than the adjacent lawn. As you drive back and forth you are putting pressure horizontally as well as vertically on the pavement. Because this higher driveway edge is unsupported, it eventually may crack, in turn causing your driveway to prematurely deteriorate. You can help to eliminate this problem by installing dirt or another supporting material in and along the unsupported areas. Place the material and then tamp it down. This will help to support the edges of the driveway by offering resistance to horizontal pressures of your car.
How long do I wait to seal my driveway?
You should sealcoat your new asphalt within the two years of construction, but wait at least 90 days (we reccomend waiting six months to a year). Asphalt needs between 60 and 90 days to fully cure. If the sealer is applied before the pavement has cured, the oils in the asphalt will work their way to the surface and the sealcoat will not adhere. If you are having issues with the driveway's surface being very soft, wait until it hardens before sealing. The sealer can exacerbate the problem.
Keep an eye out for any cracks in the asphalt.
As your driveway ages it will eventually develop some type of cracking in the binder of the asphalt. Cracks are the major cause of pavement deterioration leading to asphalt failure. They allow moisture penetrate the asphalt concrete. Untreated cracks become filled with incompressable materials, creating stress on the surrounding pavement, leading to further cracks. This cycle, repeated again and again, will accelerate your pavement's breakdown. Proper repair of cracks in your driveway is the most important step to successful driveway maintenance.
Sealcoat your driveway every two to three years.
Sealcoating is the method of protecting your asphalt pavement by applying a thin coating of an asphalt sealer to the pavement surface. Generally, one coating of sealer is sufficient for most homes, families with many cars or a large amount of traffic on the driveway may require two coats. The actual application of sealer should not be put on too thick, or too often. Driveways that are sealed too heavily or too often will have a buildup of sealer that will lead to "spider cracking" in the sealer itself. The sealcoat by design is very hard; because of this hardness, it not as flexible as the asphalt beneath it. As your driveway shifts over the years, fine cracks can develop in the sealer if it is too thick or heavy. This can make your driveway look worse not better. The sealer is designed as a wear product, meaning it's meant wear off before you reapply it. The goal is to, wear the sealcoating and not the surface of your driveway. In general, it is recommended to seal your driveway every two to three years, although this can vary depending upon the condition and use of the driveway. If your not sure wether or not it is time to seal your driveway look at your driveway to see any of stone in the asphalt binder. If you can see the stone in the binder you know you have bare sphalt and it is time to seal your asphalt driveway.
How does seal coat protects your pavement?
Sealer is design to protect your driveway in the following three ways:
Aesthetics as well as maintenance.
Sealcoating also enhances the appearance of your driveway and eases maintenance. Sealing your driveway brings back the dark black color of the original pavement, making it look almost new. Sealcoated pavements also are easier to clean and maintain. The sealer fills in the surface voids in the asphalt. Making the surface more uniform and smooth. The sealed driveway with a smoother surface is easier to sweep, shovel, and wash.
What type of sealer are there?
Make sure when choosing a sealer (or contractor) that it has an aggregate component (sand) in the sealcoat. This extends the life of the sealcoat and gives the driveway's surface more traction. This is even more important in the winter months when snow and ice can be an issue.