Many types of weather can cause the surface of your asphalt driveway to break down and become damaged. No matter the climate you live in, it is important to do what you can to maintain your asphalt's surface, as a properly-maintained asphalt driveway can last approximately 20 years. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your asphalt surface and keep it well-maintained as long as possible.
Remove Snow Safely
If you live in a northern climate, your asphalt driveway may accumulate snow and ice, which will need to be removed. Fortunately, your asphalt's black surface helps absorb the sun's heat, which can help in melting snow and ice during the winter. If you use a snow plow for any snow removal, take care to not scrape the blade's edge across the asphalt, as it can scratch and damage the surface which can lead to early deterioration.
If you need to use an ice melt on the asphalt's surface to melt any ice, be sure not to use any containing acetate. Acetate ice melts can break the bond within the aggregate and asphalt binder and cause the surface of your pavement to strip. Eventually, this will cause the aggregate to crumble from the surface and lead to potholes. Apply an ice melt that does not contain acetate, or sprinkle sand over your asphalt driveway to help you and vehicles gain traction over its surface.
The sun's ultraviolet rays can fade and dry out the surface of your asphalt driveway, leading to cracks and other damage. When this occurs, fill them as soon as possible to prevent them widening into larger areas of damage and potholes.
First, make sure you clean out any debris from the crack, including vegetation, dirt, and loose pieces of aggregate. You can fill the crack with a cold patch asphalt filler, which you can buy bagged at most home improvement stores. Use a shovel to scoop and press the patch material into the crack, tamping it down with a hand tamp. Fill the crack until the patch is level with the surrounding asphalt.
For smaller cracks that are too small to fill with cold patch filler, use a tube of liquid asphalt filler. Squeeze the filler into the crack until it fills the crack to the level of the surrounding asphalt.
Allow any cold patch or liquid filler to fully set and cure before you drive or walk over it. Check the package instructions for a specific time frame of each product.
Use these tips in addition with regular application of a protective seal coating to keep your asphalt driveway lasting as long as possible.