A new asphalt driveway provides years of curb appeal and a smooth driving surface. Many homeowners also enjoy the dark, black color of freshly poured asphalt. However, asphalt fades over time—and it’s also susceptible to damage from heat, water and heavy equipment. Proper maintenance goes a long way in preserving asphalt driveways for years to come.
How Long Does an Asphalt Driveway Last?
Asphalt driveways can last 10 to 20 years, depending on a wide range of factors, such as installation quality, climate and frequency of use. Proper maintenance is the key for a long-lasting driveway.
How Can You Protect Your Asphalt Driveway?
Strong UV rays from the sun, freeze-thaw cycles in the winter and deicing products spell trouble for most driveways. Asphalt is porous by nature, which makes it vulnerable to erosion, cracking and potholes. Preventative maintenance is the best way to protect driveways from deterioration. Here are four ways you can protect your asphalt driveway.
Repair Driveway Cracks
Small cracks go unnoticed unless you keep a close watch. Cracks start as surface damage, but over time, they widen and split to expose the subsurface. When water penetrates the sublayers, it erodes the asphalt’s foundation. Ultimately, if you don’t repair cracks with a reliable crack filler, the foundation crumbles and a pothole forms. Learn how to repair and fill asphalt driveway cracks when they’re 1/8” to 1/2” wide.
Sealcoat Your Driveway
Sealcoating is the process of applying a protective liquid product to your asphalt pavement. The rich, dark product fills crevices and small cracks. At the same time, it seals the surface and protects against water and heat. So, when should you seal your driveway? Follow these simple steps to sealcoat your driveway every three to five years to slow down natural wear and maintain a new blacktop appearance.
Regularly Clean Your Driveway
Just as you clean surfaces inside your home, clean your driveway to remove dirt and debris. Oil stains are common in summer and autumn. You may be refilling your car or lawnmower and accidentally spill oil on the driveway. Learn how to clean your asphalt driveway with these driveway oil stain removal tips.
If you live in a climate that experiences snowfall, you may choose to apply deicing products to keep your driveway safe in slippery conditions. Don’t allow deicing salt to build up. Salt breaks down the aggregate and damages the integrity of the pavement. Instead, power wash or remove deicing salt when temperatures warm up.
Prioritize Winter Driveway Maintenance
Driveways sustain the most damage during winter months. Asphalt is brittle in winter, making it vulnerable to heavy car tires and hand-powered snowplows. A metal shovel may help you remove snow efficiently but be careful not to chip or gouge the driveway with its sharp edge. Consider a plastic shovel or a metal shovel with a rubber blade. It helps get the job done without etching marks or cracks in the asphalt.