Caring For Your New Asphalt Driveway

Caring and maintenance of a new asphalt driveway

Once your new asphalt driveway has been installed, there are several things you should know! Here are some tips that will help keep your driveway looking new and in great shape for years to come.

New Asphalt Driveway Care

1) Tire Tracking

On a hot and sunny day, the asphalt can easily heat the asphalt up making it soft and pliable again, therefore, caution should be taken when making tight or sharp turns on it. If you wind up causing tire tracking there’s not a lot you can do to fix it. Unfortunately, only time and a little oxidization will make these disappear.

2) Power Steering Divots

Power steering divots are caused by turning your steering wheel while your vehicle is setting in place. This can cause damage to your new asphalt especially on a very hot summer day. If turning around in your driveway is absolutely necessary, try and keep the vehicle moving at all times while you’re turning, moving forward and backwards until you’re turned around.

Now, most of the time a power steering divot is not really a huge thing to worry about, but if you happen to cause a divot in the asphalt it can be fixed pretty easily. The best time to make a repair to a power steering divot is in the middle of a hot sunny day. Simply take a short 2 x 4, push some of loose asphalt into the low spot, push the raised asphalt in a downward motion into the low area and then using a hammer, pound the asphalt back into place. This will not repair the asphalt like new, but it will lessen the long term damage. Over time, the spot will mostly disappear but you may be able to see it just slightly. When you have your driveway sealed it will pretty much disappear.

3) Construction Equipment

If your driveway has been paved recently and you plan on doing any type of construction on your property that requires any heavy construction equipment or heavy concrete mixer trucks, they should avoid driving on your new asphalt. If it’s absolutely necessary, then the best time for them to drive on the asphalt is early in the morning hours when it’s at it’s coolest or in the evenings after the sun starts to go down. But even then, these heavy vehicles may still damage the new asphalt driveway.

4) Campers, Boats and Trailers - Parking Them On The Asphalt

If you have any campers, boats or trailers, and you need to store them on your new asphalt driveway, it’s a good idea to place some plywood underneath each tire in order to spread the weight more evenly to keep small divots or low spots from forming in the asphalt. These divots or swayles are irreparable without causing even more problems surrounding them. The way these are formed is by any combination of several things like the wind blowing, climbing in and out of the boat, climbing in and out of the trailer or camper.  This vibrating or moving the vehicle back and forth, wiggles the asphalt back and forth under the tires and eventually causes a low spot or a swayle in the asphalt. To remedy this, place (3/4”) plywood underneath each tire. Generally you want to about 2 feet on each side of your tires and of course, a couple of feet in length past the front of the back tires. This will distribute the weight more evenly over a larger area and eliminate that potential problem.

5) Oil Spots

Oil spots are not a major problem as long as they’re cleaned up soon after oil has leaked or spilled onto the asphalt. Oil can stain the asphalt and cause it to get somewhat gummy over time. Oil will attract dust and dirt, but it’s not something to be concerned about. It’s more unsightly than anything. Now, if it’s not cleaned up, over a very long period of time the asphalt may become soft in those areas. When you have your new asphalt driveway sealed, the seal coat contractor will be able to prime them and help to cover them up. But there is no permanent fix.

6) Fuel Spills

When it comes to fuel spills, regular unleaded gasoline will not damage the asphalt immediately. It would take some time to sit on there to actually cause any severe damage, so you’ll want to try and clean them up as quickly as possible. On the other hand, diesel fuel on asphalt is a completely different story. As a matter of fact, you’ll notice the company that installs asphalt, they may sometimes use diesel fuel to clean some of the moving parts on their paving equipment and hand tools. Diesel fuel is the best solvent for asphalt. So you definitely do not want to spill any diesel fuel on your asphalt driveway at all as it will destroy the asphalt very quickly. Diesel fuel will completely dissolve the binders in asphalt and eventually it will turn into a hole. You can literally take a screwdriver and just scrape it all out. That’s how damaging diesel fuel can be, so make sure you don’t spill any diesel fuel on your asphalt driveway.

7) Low Spots/Bird Baths

Once the driveway installation is complete, you may notice some small bird baths here and there after it rains or snows. Now they may or may not be a problem depending on how deep they are. To determine if a low spot is a potential problem, fill the low spot with water and then drop a quarter into it. If the water doesn’t completely cover the quarter, then it’s nothing to worry about. Now if it’s a 1/4" deep or more, then that could potentially be a problem in the future. In this case, call your installation contractor. Most of the time these bird baths are not much to worry about.

8) Ice Melting Products

Ice melting products are very handy in the wintertime in the colder climates. Salt or any other commercial products that melt ice will not hurt asphalt, so they can be used liberally. They can stain the asphalt however, so be sure to spray them off of your driveway frequently.

9) Snow Removal

If you plow the snow on your driveway, or you hire someone to do it for you, make sure if you’re using chains on your tires not to allow the wheels to spin in place. This will cause deep gashes in the asphalt that may not be noticeable until the spring. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done to repair these unsightly damages.

10) Moving Vans

On more than one occasion we’ve seen moving vans completely destroy an asphalt driveway. Avoid allowing moving vans on your driveway if at all possible.

11) Trash Collection Trucks

Trash trucks are extremely heavy and can destroy even 6” thick parking lots. DON’T LET THEM ON YOUR ASPHALT DRIVEWAY!

In Closing, a lot of times we find the unethical, "fly by night" rip off contractors won't even call you back if you have problems with your new asphalt driveway. The bottom line is they don't care about you or their reputation. We find a lot of contractors will promise people over and over to come and fix things, but never show up. They put homeowners off until the warranty has run out. Don't let this happen to you. Avoid asphalt paving scams and see our report on “The Most Common Ways Asphalt Installation Contractors Rip Us Off and How To Avoid Them”.

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