If you’re in charge of preserving a public road, a parking lot, or just your own driveway, you may already know a thing or two about asphalt maintenance. Asphalt is a top paving material thanks to its versatility, affordability, and durability, but it still requires occasional upkeep. Making time for asphalt maintenance pays off in the long run, as it can prevent safety hazards and add years to the lifespan of the surface.
Keep in mind that the frequency of required asphalt maintenance can vary a lot depending on various factors, especially the climate of the area and the amount of use the asphalt surface gets. So there isn’t a universal timeline that can tell you exactly how often you need to seal your driveway. The most important thing is to keep an eye out for signs of damage, so you can fix narrow cracks and similar problems before they get bigger.
In this blog post, we’re going over what you need to know in order to keep your asphalt surface in good shape for many years to come.
Keep the surface clean
Regular cleaning is an important, but sometimes overlooked, part of asphalt maintenance. Mud and oil stains are eyesores that can make the asphalt surface appear older than it is. Plus, certain kinds of debris, such as piles of fallen leaves, prevent the asphalt from drying properly and may accelerate deterioration.
Most of the time, a good old-fashioned broom works fine for cleaning off your asphalt driveway. However, if you’re dealing with stains that are hard to get out, a pressure washing session might be in order.
Ensure proper drainage
As we mentioned in the last section, your asphalt surface will last longer if it’s not exposed to constant moisture. In winter, water that lingers on the surface may freeze and cause the formation of cracks. So it’s crucial to make sure that the driveway or other paved area is not angled in such a way that water sticks around for too long.
Use a sealer
Sealing the asphalt surface is one of the most basic—yet effective—ways that you can protect the area from UV rays, ice, and other elements that cause asphalt to deteriorate over time. Many people also prefer the aesthetics of a sealed driveway, since the uniform color gives it a neat appearance. Keep in mind that sealing a brand new asphalt surface is not recommended, as the material takes several months to cure.
However, you certainly don’t have to wait until you see wear and tear before applying a layer of sealer to the surface. In fact, we recommend doing it as soon as the surface is cured, before you forget about it. After all, that’s the whole spirit of asphalt maintenance: fixing it before it breaks.
Fill cracks as soon as they appear
If you’ve just noticed that your smooth asphalt driveway has started to succumb to hairline cracks, don’t fret—but do take action as soon as you can. Fine cracks in asphalt are a common concern, especially in areas with snow and ice, but they’re usually not an indication of any kind of structural problem. In fact, filling in fine cracks is a pretty standard part of asphalt maintenance. Follow the steps below and your surface will soon be as good as new.
Clean out the crack
First of all, make sure the crack is free of dirt, weeds, and other debris. You can use a leaf blower or a hose for this step (if you get the area wet, just make sure you let it dry before proceeding).
Fill it with a sealer
Next, fill the crack with a high-quality asphalt sealer. If the sealer you purchase comes in a big tub, you’ll need a caulking gun or a similar tool for easier application. Use a trowel or a wide drywall knife to create a smooth surface.
Reapply if necessary
Take a look at the area once the sealer has dried (this takes 24 to 48 hours, depending on humidity and other weather conditions). If the surface still isn’t 100% level, give it another coat.
Contact a professional
If you don’t have time to deal with the upkeep of your asphalt surfaces or just prefer the peace of mind that comes with hiring experienced professionals, contact New England Paving and get a free quote for asphalt maintenance services today.