There are many advantages to installing a concrete driveway on your property. However, if you’ve gone for the main alternative, asphalt, then it’s likely you have done so on account of its main advantage over asphalt – longevity. Indeed, asphalt is designed to resist the effects of weathering for a bit longer than concrete.
Asphalt paving takes the form of a black crude oil-derived substance known as bitumen poured over and pressed into an aggregate of crushed rock, sand, or gravel. This synthetic material fills the gaps more fully and is itself water-resistant. This means that it can withstand degradation – which is fundamentally caused by the incursion of water into the paving material – for a bit longer than concrete.
Nevertheless, this can lead many to assume that less work is needed to protect an asphalt driveway and keep it looking its best. This is not so. An asphalt driveway will require regular attention and care in much the same way as a concrete driveway will. Paving experts Parking Lot Pros stress that this regimen of care should be regular and take place throughout the year. At the very least, some annual repair work in the winter comes much recommended.
How Asphalt Driveways Degrade
Before going on to outlining what form that care should take, it is worth noting how asphalt driveways can degrade. We have mentioned already that water is the key factor, and it is indeed true that the degradation of an asphalt driveway always begins with the first incursion of water below its uppermost surface. The main mechanism of weathering that effects asphalt driveways is known as freeze-thaw weathering.
Freeze thaw weathering begins when some water makes its way it into the smallest opening in the driveway surface. In cold weather, this water freezes and expands. When this happens, the gap is widened and is ready to fill up with even more water next time. And so continues the process. Naturally, this can lead to cracks and potholes in your driveway, but beyond even that, it can collect the material needed for weeds. As you might expect then, this problem is best dealt with before it becomes too severe.
Asphalt Driveway Care Tips
So, with that in mind, here follows some of the best tips for looking after an asphalt driveway and keeping it looking new:
Repair Cracks as and When They Appear
Where asphalt is concerned, the thing to stress here is that this should be done before the subsurface is in any way exposed. Once that happens, you have a much bigger job on your hands. Nevertheless, dealing with a crack just when you notice it is much easier.
Sealcoat the Driveway
Asphalt sealcoating is the process of adding another protective layer, which is composed of an oily liquid that fills up the smallest openings in the asphalt surface. Sealcoating your driveway is particularly good idea if you live in a colder climate, where the effects of weathering are more severe.
When dirt and other types of organic matter begin to collect in even the smallest depressions or openings, a bed for weeds is created. Regularly cleaning the driveway with simple soapy water and a broom is the best way to keep this at bay.
Prioritize the Winter
For the same reason that sealcoating is advised in the colder climates, the wintertime (in any climate) is the best time to pay a bit more attention to the condition of your driveway.
Asphalt driveways look great and are very resilient, but it is a mistake to think that maintenance isn’t needed. It’s always needed, and it is best done early and regularly.