Ongoing asphalt driveway maintenance is an important part of owning an asphalt driveway. Think about it this way, your driveway won't last forever and at some point you'll need to remove it and replace it with a new one. How soon that day comes is entirely dependent upon how well maintained the driveway is. Research has shown regular maintenance of an asphalt driveway can extend the life dramatically.
Here's a few things you should plan on doing on a regular basis to extend the life of an asphalt driveway.
Sealing cracks is probably the most important part of maintaining an asphalt driveway. Keeping the water from entering the cracks and undermining the asphalt is the main goal. Water entering the cracks can undermine the asphalt and cause the cracking to spread and eventually create pavement failures like alligatored areas and potholes. Sealing the cracks annually is highly recommended.
Sealing the driveway can greatly slow down the deterioration process caused by oxidization from the sun, water runoff and the overall use of your asphalt driveway. An asphalt driveway should be sealed every 3 to 5 years. Some homeowners have been mistakenly under the impression it should be done very 1 to 2 years. This is not true and depending on the type of sealer that's used, can actually cause the asphalt to crack and deteriorate much faster.
Keeping grass and weeds away from the edges of the asphalt will keep them from creeping up into the asphalt and causing failure and deterioration.
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 the asphalt driveway sealcoated, a sealcoat contractor will be able to prime them and help to cover them up. But there is no permanent fix.
When it comes to fuel spills, regular unleaded gasoline will not damage the asphalt immediately. It would take some time to sit on the surface 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 installation contractors 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 within minutes. That’s how damaging diesel fuel can be, so make sure you don’t spill any diesel fuel on your asphalt driveway.
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.
Get the facts about asphalt driveway maintenance by watching or reading our series, “The Most Common Ways Asphalt Repair, Maintenance & Sealcoating Contractors Rip Us Off and How To Avoid Them”.