The Homeowner's Guide to Asphalt Driveways

Guide to Asphalt Driveways

If you plan to re-pave an existing asphalt driveway or replace a dirt drive with asphalt, you should understand how to best prolong your driveway's structural integrity and lifespan.

In this blog, you'll find answers to some of the most common questions homeowners have about their new asphalt driveways.

What time of year is best for paving?

When laying new asphalt, a contractor's largest concern is temperature. Asphalt dries much more quickly in warm weather than in cool.

How long does paving take?

Most residential driveway's take two days to complete. During the first day, the contractor typically clears the location and levels the area.

The contractor may also compact the area, depending on the soil composition. On the second day, the contractor lays the pavement.

Do asphalt driveways need curbs? 

The paving process may disrupt the grass in your lawn. Some homeowners protect their lawns and separate the driveway from the rest of their yard using curbs, but curbs are not strictly necessary for that purpose.

Talk to your contractor about whether you need curbs to prevent detrimental expansion during your driveway's lifespan.

How long must asphalt cure before I can drive on it?

Allow your driveway to sit for at least 24 hours before walking on it. Most contractors recommend letting the driveway cure for two to three days before driving on it, and two weeks before parking on the surface.

Even after this initial period, avoid parking in the same place on the driveway, especially when temperatures rise. On hot days, avoid turning your vehicle's wheels while on the driveway as this encourages lines.

Should I seal my driveway surface?

To strengthen your driveway, your contractor may recommend a sealant. Typically, contractors allow asphalt to sit for at least 45 days before applying a sealant.

What kind of maintenance does asphalt require?

Asphalt remains durable with only a little maintenance. But you should make oil or petrol stains your primary maintenance concern. If motor oil spills on your driveway, clean the surface completely with water.

If you experience another chemical spill, use sand or cat litter to absorb the liquid. Then use a broom to remove the absorbent substance.

You can treat your driveway with salt to prevent ice build-up in the winter. And shovelling should not scuff or scratch your driveway's surface.

How long does asphalt last?

With proper maintenance and occasional repairs, the average residential asphalt driveway lasts up to 30 years. This time may vary according to the type of aggregate your contractor uses. Talk to your contractor about the warranty and recommendations for your specific type and depth of asphalt.

What conditions affect asphalt?

Asphalt expands with heat and contracts in the cold. Occasionally, this movement causes separation and cracking. 

You may notice that your asphalt feels softer when the temperature rises. Take care not to park vehicles or bicycles on your driveway when it feels spongy.

Also, avoid driving off the edges of your driveway. Over time, this fractures your driveway's edges.

How should I handle cracks or wearing?

If you notice a crack in your driveway, contact your contractor or pavement provider. If you leave a crack unrepaired, it may lead to potholes, large fissures, and permanent ruts.

If you have any other general questions about asphalt or specific questions about your particular situation, talk to your asphalt contractor. He or she can guide you through the installation process and make recommendations for care and maintenance.

Keep the above characteristics in mind as you begin to use your asphalt driveway to ensure it remains functional and intact for years to come.