A well-maintained asphalt driveway is a great way to improve your home's curb appeal and increase its resale value — it also looks pretty attractive. And if you want the best of both worlds, make sure that when you take care of your driveway with regular maintenance, without proper care, they can begin to crack or crumble in as little as fifteen years! A well-maintained driveway should last 25-30 years. Taking time for upkeep will help extend their life and eliminate costly repairs down the road.
Fix Potholes Quickly
Potholes are a sign the asphalt and subbase are starting to fail. Small potholes (4") can quickly turn into large potholes. Potholes allow more water to enter the subbase of your driveway, causing more significant damage. Ideally, you will want to repair potholes in the summer months so a hot patch can be applied. However, you can use a cold patch to repair potholes in the winter.
Fill & Repair Cracks
Cracks in asphalt allow water to penetrate to the subbase of your driveway. When the subbase has excess water, it becomes weak and soggy. A soggy subbase will not support loads and will cause the asphalt to fail. Like potholes, the sooner you address the cracks, the less costly it is to repair them.
Professional grade hot rubber sealant is the best way to seal cracks. However, if your budget is limited, a product from your local hardware store can do the job.
If you have weeds growing in the cracks, use a herbicide to kill weeds and prevent new ones from growing.
Follow a Sealcoating Schedule
It is recommended that your asphalt surfaces should be seal coated every 2-3 years. While somewhat costly, following a sealcoating schedule will increase the usable lifespan of your driveway. Hairline cracks and surface imperfections are filled in by the coating, preventing water intrusion into the subbase. Also, oxidization is reduced, helping keep your asphalt pliable, making it less likely to crack.
Clean Your Driveway Regularly
In order to keep your driveway clean and long-lasting, it's essential to know the best way of keeping them. For example, chemicals can cause damage quickly, so washing off oil stains from time to time is essential. Remember that if you use rock salt for snow or ice removal after a storm, don't forget to sweep any remaining rock salt off your driveway. During the summer months, use a leaf blower or garden hose to remove pebbles, dust and other materials.
Keep Heavy Loads Off Your Driveway
Most driveways are not designed to carry heavy loads. Dump trucks, cement trucks, even RV's can cause asphalt to rut under heavy weights. Water can pool in the ruts causing major repair issues.
Eliminate Standing Water
Regardless is your driveway is cement, asphalt or gravel, water is detrimental to your driveway. Make sure downspouts are routed to areas with vegetation (free water). Hose bibs that are located over your driveway should only be used with a hose attached, or place a bucket under the hose bib.
If you notice puddles in your driveway after heavy rains or snowmelt you will want to contact a driveway paving company to see if they can repair the area.
Also, if you have a sprinkler system, check to make sure they are adjusted correctly. There is no sense in watering your driveway.
Before planting trees or large bushes, evaluate how large the root system will grow. Planting a small tree today might be great, but think ten years out. Root systems can cause asphalt and, for that matter, cement to have issues as the roots grow under your driveway.
Driveway Edges are Weak-Protect Them
The edges of your driveway are the weakest point and typically where failure can start. Providing support along the edges can prevent them from failing. Backfilling dirt or rock along the edges will help reinforce the area. Make sure to keep the backfill material about 1" lower so water can still run off the driveway. Also, try and not try or park on the edges of your driveway.
Your driveway is a significant investment and is worth protecting. Following the above tips will add years of life to your driveway and lower the lifetime cost of your driveway.