There’s no perfect way to protect your asphalt driveway from heavy vehicles and fierce weather. Eventually, the asphalt will start to weaken, forming potholes and cracks. If these blemishes are not treated immediately, they can cause even more problems for you and your driveway.
Fortunately, there are preventative measures that you can take to minimise the amount of damage the asphalt takes. Although it might seem like an inconvenience now, undertaking these protective methods can save you from expensive and invasive asphalt repairs in the future.
To help, here are six ways to prevent asphalt driveways from getting damaged.
- Make sure it’s properly installed
Improper installation of asphalt can cause the surface to crack. Before laying asphalt, it’s important to make sure that the ground has been properly prepared, compacted and flattened.
Due to weather changes and general degradation, the soil underneath your driveway will undergo natural expansions and contractions. If the ground isn’t properly prepared and the asphalt isn’t laid properly, your driveway will not be able to handle the earth movements and the stresses will cause it to start cracking.
To prevent this, ensure that the ground is properly prepared by qualified professionals before the asphalt is laid.
- Limit excess weight
Asphalt driveways are less durable than concrete. While asphalt will comfortably stand up to normal traffic, excess weight like heavy duty machinery can damage it. This excess weight will eventually cause the surface to weaken and crack.
As a preventative measure, try to park your vehicles in your garage as much as you can. If this isn’t convenient or possible, consider parking it on the street. Where possible avoid driving or parking heavy vehicles on the asphalt.
Existing damage can also worsen if you continue to park SUVs and trucks on your asphalt. To make sure your driveway stays intact for as long as it can, try to avoid parking heavy vehicles on it.
- Avoid trees with shallow root systems
Trees with shallow root systems can grow directly underneath the asphalt and cause an uneven surface. Just like shifting soil, the movement of growing roots under your driveway will cause the asphalt surface to bulge or crack.
If you have trees growing near your driveway, ensure that the root systems aren’t too shallow. Alternatively, you can have a barrier installed to prevent the roots from growing underneath the asphalt.
If you want to avoid root problems altogether, you can remove the trees and have bushes and shrubs put in instead.
- Ensure proper drainage
Water can cause a lot of problems for an asphalt driveway. Since asphalt is porous, water can easily seep into the material and damage it. During colder seasons, the water that seeps into your driveway can freeze, which then leads to the asphalt cracking. Moisture can also weaken the base course of your driveway which can lead to potholes.
To avoid this, make sure that your driveway has a proper drainage system. Create runoffs on the side of your driveway and if necessary, have a drain installed near your driveway. Also, ensure that any runoff from your roof or guttering is directed away from the driveway.
- Use a sealant
Sealants can protect your driveway from UV rays, corrosive fluids, moisture and snow. Although sealcoating is not going to entirely protect the asphalt from moisture, it will ensure that your driveway looks its best all-year round.
For the best results, it is recommended that you reseal your asphalt driveway every three to five years. This, of course, depends on the type of sealant you’re using as well as the condition of your driveway.
Keep in mind that applying a sealant is a preventative measure. This method does not repair any structural damage that already exists in your driveway. If you suspect that you have structural issues, make sure to contact a professional to get your driveway fixed as soon as possible.
- Wash regularly and repair existing pot holes
Regular maintenance can go a long way. This includes regularly cleaning and repairing existing potholes/cracks as soon as they appear.
When your vehicles go through the driveway, sometimes corrosive fluid can find its way onto the asphalt. When this happens, make sure to clean the surface immediately. This will prevent the fluid from seeping too deep into your driveway and causing further damage.
In terms of cracks and potholes, make sure to have them repaired by a professional as soon as possible. Leaving them untreated will allow even more moisture to seep into the asphalt. This can lead to a weakened base course and even more potholes and surface cracking.
You can’t avoid regular wear and tear on your asphalt. However, to potentially save yourself some money and time, it’s important to take preventative and protective measures. Consider the tips we’ve outlined above and ensure that your driveway is protected from excessive weight, corrosive fluids and moisture. If you’re unsure about anything regarding your asphalt driveway, you can always contact a professional for help or advice.