There's More to Paving Than Sidewalks

Three Things You Might Not Know About Maintaining Your Asphalt Driveway

If you live in an area with cold winters, then it's likely that you have an asphalt driveway. While concrete is prevalent throughout the country, its lesser performance when exposed to low temperatures leads many homeowners in colder regions to choose asphalt as an alternative. Asphalt is a long-lasting, durable, and attractive material when properly maintained, but many homeowners are not aware of the essential maintenance steps required to keep it functionally and aesthetically new for as long as possible. If you aren't an asphalt expert, then learning these three facts should help you to reduce your maintenance costs and keep your driveway looking good for longer.

Asphalt Sealant Doesn't Last the Life of the Driveway

During your driveway's initial installation, it was covered with a layer of sealcoating to protect it against contaminants and sun damage. This sealant layer prevents the asphalt in your driveway from suffering permanent damage as a result of regular use. Over time, however, the sealant wears away and its protection diminishes. Homeowners often believe that this sealant lasts for much longer than it does in practice. In reality, asphalt sealant is unlikely to last more than 23 years even on new driveways. As your driveway wears down, the sealant also tends to wear much faster. Exposure to extreme temperature variations, harsh chemicals, or heavy salt use can reduce its lifespan as well.

Cracks Aren't Just Aesthetic

That crack in your driveway may be unsightly, but it's more than just an annoying blemish. Once cracks or holes have compromised your driveway in this way, the upper layer of sealant can no longer protect it. Unfortunately, this isn't an issue that can be remedied merely by resealing your driveway. Asphalt sealant is incapable of filling even relatively small cracks, which means that damaging contaminants will easily find their way below the surface layer. Because the potential for damage is so severe, it is essential to fill cracks and holes whenever you are resealing your driveway. Even better, repair this damage as soon as you notice it.

Water Is Not Your (Driveway's) Friend

Are you noticing standing water on the surface of your driveway? Although water that remains on asphalt is bad at any time of the year, it is especially problematic during the winter. If the water penetrates below the top layer of the driveway, it will expand and contract during cycles of thawing and freezing. This type of damage will quickly cause even tiny cracks to grow out of control, potentially leading to much larger failures. This is yet another reason that repairing any damage quickly and correctly is vital to keeping your driveway usable.

If you do notice that your driveway is wearing much faster than you expect, one of the best things you can do is contact a professional paving contractor. An expert can evaluate your driveway for issues and offer solutions for repairing problems or, if necessary, cost-effectively replacing the driveway.

For more information about paving services, contact a company like Virginia  Asphalt Services Inc.