Maintenance Tips for Asphalt Driveways
Asphalt is a very common material in the United States. There are about 18 billion tons of it on America’s roads and highways. Asphalt driveways are also very common. If they are both installed and maintained properly, the average lifespan for asphalt driveway is between 25 and 50 years. Given that it can come in somewhere near 250 different hues and shades, its versatility alone is one reason it is used so often. Here are some things homeowners can do to keep their driveways looking great for a long time:
- Have your driveway sealed. When a good quality sealant is applied to asphalt driveways, it can do a lot to protect them from damage from the elements. Experts in the area say that people should have this done right after the driveway installation is done but it also needs to be repeated annually. It may not seem like it but the asphalt is vulnerable to damage from water, ice and UV rays from the sun. They say the best time to do this is in the spring. That is also a good time to fix any problems that were caused over the winter. Before a sealant is applied the homeowner is advised to check the driveway for existing damage such as cracks or holes. They need to be fixed before the sealant is applied. Standing water should also be removed before resealing is done. Homeowners should also look out for mold, moss, mildew or other growths.
- Get rid of that standing water. After a driveway is installed, some areas can become depressed. When this happens, small (or large) holes can appear in the asphalt. These are perfect for the collecting of rain water. It may look harmless but that water can lead to cracks in the pavement. Homeowners should pay attention to their asphalt driveways after rain storms and check. Small indentations can be an easy DIY project but larger ones need help from a driveway contractor. Standing water is also a great breeding ground for disease carrying mosquitoes.
- Got cracks? Fix ’em! No matter how great your sealant is, asphalt driveways are vulnerable to damage from extreme weather. You do not want to leave even small cracks alone as they will only grow into larger problems. They can also become home to weeds. Water can get into those cracks and freeze and then the crack will grow. The sooner you can get these cracks fixed, the better. Homeowners can buy products to fix any that are small, say less than half an inch. Other products are needed for larger cracks.
- Got holes? Fill ’em! Any surface that has been paved with asphalt is vulnerable to potholes. Over the winter, water gets under the driveway and freezes. That causes it to expand. When it melts, the asphalt has no support and collapses into a pothole. This is why the best time to find potholes is in the spring. There are a lot of reasons to fill them when you see them. Like cracks, they will just get bigger if left alone. People can get products at the local home improvement store. If the potholes are really large, it is worth it to bring in the experts to fix.
- Keep growths away. There are ways to keep asphalt driveways free of all kinds of growths. All driveways are vulnerable to things like algae, mold, lichen, mildew or moss. In addition to making the driveway look crappy, they can do damage to the surface of the asphalt. This can interfere with the protection offered by the sealant and lead to cracks and holes. Existing cracks are just made larger by these substances. They make the driveway more slippery. There are products at the home improvement store that are very easy to use and will protect all driveways from pesky growths. There are some products that you simply mix with water and spray on the driveway. After they have been allowed to dry, your driveway will no longer be a great home for these growths.
While it may not be the most exciting thing in a home, the driveway is one of the first things people see when they get to a home. Keeping it looking great helps retain the value of a home.