Quick Tips for Maintaining Your Home's Asphalt Driveway

Asphalt is quickly becoming a popular choice for home driveways as it's usually more affordable than concrete and doesn't need as long to set and cure before you can drive on it. Asphalt is also very durable, but this doesn't mean it won't need some maintenance and care over the years. Note a few quick tips on maintaining your home's asphalt driveway and then discuss these with an asphalt contractor if you still need more information.

1. Sealer versus filler

A sealer is often applied over cracks to keep them from getting worse. However, it can't be used on all cracks in an asphalt driveway; if the crack is anything more than a slightly visible hairline fracture, you want to clean out the area and use a filler instead. Sealers are not meant to add structural strength to asphalt or actually fill in cracks, so when they get so big that you can see the material separated from itself, it's time to switch to a filler rather than a sealer.

When you do use filler, be sure you use it correctly. You want to overfill a crack or hole and then tamp the filler down into the area. This will allow it to connect to the asphalt underneath and will create a firmer surface. Don't simply add filler and walk away thinking the job is done; be sure you take the time to press and make firm the fill material.

2. Impressions and tire marks

Asphalt is very soft which means it might hold impressions and tire marks more easily than many other materials, including concrete. Note that asphalt may get softer in very hot weather as the glue and adhesive that holds it together may break down slightly, making it more prone to these marks. Avoid kickstands and heavy vehicle traffic in summertime, if at all possible. Be sure you don't turn the wheel of your car while it's not moving and parked on the asphalt, as this will press the soft asphalt and leave a mark.

3. Avoid salt

During wintertime, avoid salting your driveway, as the salt can break down the material that holds asphalt together and cause cracks and other damage. Try a de-icing product with magnesium chloride rather than salt to melt and remove ice. Be sure to remove ice and snow quickly from your asphalt driveway, as allowing water to seep into any cracks and crevices can cause damage to the asphalt itself, so that you wind up with even bigger cracks and outright potholes in the springtime.