- They don’t, not even under the most ideal of conditions – last for a lifetime that is and…
- Often the driveway contractor does not tell you how to look after your new driveway. So measures you could take to prolong the driveway life are not taken.
So, being none the wiser, you accept it, use it and after 4 or 5 years you begin to notice some minor defects appearing in the surface. Being minor though, instead of repairing them there and then most owners will ignore them. The trouble is these defects will get progressively worse until you go out to your car one morning and where there was a bit of an oil stain or a small crack, now there is a hole. Small perhaps, but definitely a hole. And one that will grow unless you do something about it.
Ok, that’s all about the homeowner putting in the new driveway but what about the unfortunate new buyer who takes on a house with an existing driveway? One that is already several years old and well used. What can he or she expect and what should be done?
Asphalt Driveway Repair Do’s and Don’ts
If you are the proud owner of a new asphalt driveway you should make sure:
- You have a warranty or some sort of guarantee from the driveway contractor covering the quality of the workmanship and materials used. Under normal circumstances this should be for a period of not less than a year.
- You get from your contractor details of how to keep your driveway in great condition.
- You sealcoat your drive with a coal tar emulsion. There are 2 schools of thought on this one as to when you should have it done:
- Some say you should do it 6 to 12 months after you have had your drive installed arguing that the sooner there is protection for the surface the better. You can’t do it any sooner than 6 months because there are certain elements within the asphalt that need to evaporate first before it can truly set and harden.
- The other side of the coin is a new asphalt driveway should be good for several years anyway before any kind of maintenance is needed
For new and old driveway owner alike you should do the following:
- Regularly inspect your driveway for:
- Weeds. These will take root in the tiniest of cracks and gradually grow and damage the surface.
- Oil, fuel and other stains. Oil based products that leak or are spilled on to your asphalt driveway will damage it. They will soften the asphalt and over time holes will form.
- Cracks. Cracks in asphalt allow moisture into the underlying base of your driveway. This in turn weakens the base and can result in the breaking up of your asphalt surface.
Early attention given to any of these problems will ensure they don’t get worse and develop into holes or potholes as they are more commonly known as.
- Keep your driveway clean. Use a hard broom to sweep off the dirt and leaves that accumulate there and do it regularly. And then once or twice a year use a high pressure washer together with your hardbroom and really give your driveway a good cleaning.
- Sealcoat your driveway on a regular basis. For asphalt driveways a seal coat of coal tar emulsion will prevent oil and fuel spillages or leaks from penetrating into the asphalt. The reason for this is asphalt is oil based and other oil based products will soften and eventually break the asphalt down. Coal tar, obviously, is not oil based and therefore is unaffected by oil based products.
- Resurface it when you need to. Depending on how well your driveway was constructed in the first place will determine how long it lasts for. From new it can last for anything from 15 to 50 years depending on how well it is looked after and maintained.
- Above all DON’T delay in attending to any minor surface defect. As the old saying goes “a stitch in time saves nine”.
Asphalt Driveway Repair Summary
Your asphalt driveway should last you a long time. It is important to look after it and do any needed repairs promptly. And properly.
How to identify exactly what needs to be done and how to properly carry out asphalt driveway repair is the entire focus of this website. All the various aspects of driveway repair will be the subject of future posts.
We will show you how you can carry out these repairs yourself if you choose to. If you choose to hire a contractor the information here will ensure you know what to expect as the finished product.