As a homeowner you know there are many aspects of owning property that demand your time and attention. Everything from property taxes, to maintaining the perfect landscape, to changing the AC filter. Its no wonder many property owners let servicing and maintaining their asphalt surfaces slip through the cracks. But considering the import job your blacktop foundation performs, it’s worth adding to your yearly maintenance schedule. Resurfacing your driveway can be a costly endeavor. Taking proper care of your asphalt and keeping an eye out for early signs of damage will go a long way towards extending your pavements overall lifespan.
Asphalt surfaces, commonly called blacktop are essentially aggregate (crushed stones or gravel) held together by a tar binding agent. While an asphalt surface may look tough and impervious to the elements, in fact, seasonal extreme temperature variation here in the Texas Hill Country can quickly cause it to dissolve into problem pavement.
During summertime, the Texas sun’s intense heat dries pavement and causes oxidization. This leads to a series of surface cracks that can be very detrimental to your paved foundation. And the cold winter months arent much easier on your driveway. During a freeze moisture in your asphalt expands cracking the pavement and eroding it from underneath
Heres a few things you should work into your regular property maintenance in order to extend the life of your asphalt driveway.
Asphalt driveway maintenance procedures
As strong as your asphalt surface is, mother nature can be much stronger. Keep weeds, grass and, and other vegetation properly maintained to prevent it from creeping up and deteriorating your pavements edges from below. Do your best to avoid driving on your driveways very edge as this is the structurally weakest part of the asphalt.
If your driveway edges have crumbled enough to be noticeable it means moisture is getting in where it shouldn’t. Subsurface moisture is one of pavements greatest enemies. Edge deterioration should be addressed by a knowledgeable asphalt professional as soon as possible.
Clean spills promptly
It goes without saying your blacktop is going to see some drips and spills throughout its life. It is a driveway, of course.
Oil stains are unsightly and can collect and trap dirt and contaminants on your driveway’s surface. But fear not, motor oil is relatively non-damaging to your asphalt in the short term. However, if not cleaned up, over long periods of time softening of the asphalt can occur for which there is no repair.
Spilled fuel can be a bit more serious an issue. Traditional unleaded gasoline won’t destroy your driveway in the blink of an eye, but it should be neutralized and removed quickly. Gas spills can discolor and ruin the asphalt’s surface. When left to sit, gas eats away at the binding material holding everything together. So after a spill, your priority should be to dilute the spill with water. After that good old-fashioned liquid dishwashing detergent is a powerful weapon. Spread detergent on the gas-soaked area and use a stiff brush to work it into a lather. Allow the detergent solution to set on the asphalt for 30-60 minutes. This allows the gas to emulsify, drawing it up and out of the porous asphalt. Next, use an absorbent material such as cat litter to soak up the remaining liquids. Finally, sweep up and dispose of the remaining cat litter and give the whole area another thorough water rinse.
Spilled diesel fuel, on the other hand, is a very big problem. Diesel is such an effective solvent for asphalt that many paving contractors use it to clean parts of their tools and paving equipment. Avoid exposing your asphalt to potential diesel spills at all costs as it will break down to a crumbling sticky mess pretty fast. Use the same method as above for diesel fuel spills, but in most cases, the damage will need to be repaired by a trusted professional.
Sealing cracks as they appear can be one of the most beneficial things you can do to boost driveway longevity. The goal here is to keep water from entering these cracks and compromising the structure of your asphalt through erosion or expansion during freezing temperatures. If you can’t keep the materials on hand to seal cracking yourself, have a qualified asphalt specialist perform this service yearly.
Sealing the driveway provides many benefits for your asphalt. It provides a protective barrier against damage caused by oxidization from the sun, water runoff and the overall use of your asphalt driveway. Application of a high-quality sealcoat every 3-6 years should be sufficient. Shady paving contractors would have you believe this should be done as frequently as 1 or 2 years. But quality materials and workmanship make for a much longer lasting protective surface.
Click to read more about quality asphalt paving solutions to make your home’s blacktop surfaces the best they can be.