A newly installed asphalt driveway is beautiful and adds value to your home. Indeed it’s the first thing your guests and buyers will see should you want to sell your home. Additionally, a well-paved driveway can serve your household for decades if you use and maintain it properly.
It’s said that asphalt driveways last between 15-20 years; however, with proper installation and maintenance, you extend its lifespan by a couple of years, and this will save your money.
The article has put together tips to follow when installing and maintaining an asphalt driveway, thus deriving maximum benefits from it.
Water is one of the significant asphalt enemies for stagnant water weakens the driveway. Thus, the surface should be designed in a way it will sweep the water away from the driveway to avoid causing cracks, or formation of potholes.
Therefore, you should hire an experienced contractor who can examine the pitch and slope of the surface for better water runoff.
Lay the sub-base immediately if the water runoff has been evaluated and approved. Foundation is an essential part of the driveway because it offers a stable pavement to support the driveway. It also serves as a barrier for frost, thus minimizing the effects of freezing and thawing during winter.
For that reason, consider the base thickness, drainage, dimensions, base stability and compaction during the sub-base installation. The standard sub-base thickness is 4 inches, and an ordinary residential driveway should be 4-6 inches if it’s used by cars and SUV vehicles. However, a deeper base is appropriate for trailers, trucks and heavy equipment. Don’t ignore compaction, for it makes the asphalt surface more durable.
Proper Installation Practices
You need a reliable asphalt contractor because it’s an essential aspect of driveway installation. Look for a reputable contractor with years of experience installing and maintaining asphalt driveways in Australia. That means that the experts will craft a driveway that meets the drainage, climate and surface requirements. They should also have the necessary equipment for the asphalt installation.
You have to maintain asphalt driveway surfaces to enhance its strength and durability. Therefore, the contractor should seal coat the surface 1-2 years after the initial installation and 5-10 years afterwards.
You shouldn’t seal less than six months after installation because it damages the driveway instead of maintaining it. The reason is that asphalt begins curing immediately after installation, and it starts from the outside going inside, thus sealing to cause soon the surface to soften and get damaged when driven on.
Sealcoating is applying a thin liquid layer over an asphalt surface to minimize the effects of the harmful car pollutants, rain, UV rays and snow. Thus, the seal coat prevents the formation of cracks and extends the life of the driveway.
You can apply the sealer by spray or squeegee. The spray application is not only faster, but it uses less material and can get messy.
On the other hand, the squeegee application is more durable but wears out unevenly as it ages hence leaving visible brush marks behind. It also takes more time and uses more material because the sealer is poured from buckets or using a hose out of the tank and then spreading it with a squeegee. Therefore, one coat is enough for a squeegee application.
Another factor to consider is that sealers are now available in different colours that can blend with your surroundings. However, you can’t use a coloured asphalt sealer on a driveway that was sealed with a water-based sealer before—you only coloured sealer on a new installation.
Further, once you opt for a coloured sealer, you have to stick to that for the lifetime of your driveway. It’s also expensive to purchase the coloured sealer as compared to the water-based sealer.
Crack filling is essential as seal coating because both activities improve the asphalt surface. This is done when cracks start appearing on the surface because they allow water to reach the sub-base, and this weakens the surface on top.
You do this by seal coating, which prevents cracks from appearing, accelerates melting of ice and snow from the surface, prevents water penetration and improves the appearance of the driveway.
When the water enters the driveway, it begins to expand and contract as the temperature fluctuates. The freeze-thaw water cycle process, in addition to the amount of traffic on the driveway, is what contributes to potholes on the asphalt surface.
Use cold mix when patching potholes in colder weather instead of hot mix asphalt. The cold mix is made from mixing bitumen emulsion with cold aggregates and anti-stripping agents. The reasons why the cold mix is more preferable than hot mix is because it’s used at low temperatures, it can be stored for six months after production and is more flexible due to its extended cure time.
You should repair the surface immediately the potholes begin to form to prevent them from getting bigger and costly to repair.
Asphalt overlay can prolong your driveway by another 5-10 years. You have to determine the condition and elevation of the current driveway before undertaking the overlay project. For instance, the existing one should be clean, level, intact, and can bond with the overlay.
Thus, you have to prepare the surface first by cleaning and repairing any potholes, levelling it, and applying a binding agent. Note that an overlay is quite expensive for a small driveway due to the cost of preparing the surface. Given that, it’s economical to remove and reinstall a new asphalt driveway than overlaying it.
You need to keep weeds and grass away from the asphalt driveway to prevent them from creeping up and causing damages to the surface.
You can use ice melting commercial products during winter months. It will prevent prolonged stay of snow and ice on the asphalt surface. However, these products can stain the driveway; therefore, you should spray it frequently to remove them.
Hiring a reliable contractor is part of the asphalt driveway installation process. Bendigo paving contractors have an outstanding experience and an endless list of satisfied clients. You can call the company for a free consultation.