Whether you just had a new asphalt driveway paved or you're still thinking about doing so, the following questions and answers include helpful information about how to care for your new asphalt driveway. You will learn the nature of blacktop, its proper care, and various tips on how to avoid problems later on. A properly maintained asphalt driveway looks great and will last for many years.
You may walk on it immediately but keep automobile traffic off your new driveway for at least three (3) full days (longer in hot weather).
The liquid asphalt in blacktop needs approximately 6 to 12 months to fully harden and cure, and will remain somewhat soft and pliable until then. It will never be as hard as concrete, but your asphalt driveway will be very durable when fully cured.
During the first six months to a year, your driveway is still curing. Take the following precautions during that time to keep your driveway looking great:
Watering down your driveway on hots days is helpful but not mandatory.
It is totally normal that your new asphalt driveway gets softer or harder as temperatures change. So if you choose to cool it down with the water hose, it will temporarily harden the asphalt.
Driving too fast essentially...
Turning around in tight places, pulling in too quickly and "peeling" out can scar your new driveway.
Rule of thumb: take it easy.
Since excessive weight from heavy vehicles can cause depressions in your new driveway, it is advisable to keep vehicles such as concrete trucks, oil trucks or any large, commercial truck off your new driveway until it cures.
If you must store your camper or boat on the new driveway, place some plywood underneath the tongue jack and tires to help distribute the weight.
Lawn chairs and bicycle or motorcycle kick stands on your new driveway can create holes and depressions due to the weight being exerted in concentrated areas.
Also, in the warmer months, don't walk on your new driveway with pointy high heels!
The edges are actually the weakest part of your new driveway since it lacks side support. So you must avoid driving on the edges or else they will crumble or crack.
It is recommended that you build up the sides of your driveway with topsoil to support the edges and enhance its appearance. Be sure to allow about one inch from the top of the driveway for sod growth and water drainage.
The very nature of asphalt may cause your driveway to look smoother in one place and rougher in others. Asphalt is made up of various sizes of stone, sand, liquid asphalt, and other ingredients. This will cause the surface of your driveway to have a varied texture. Also, if your driveway has been raked or spread with hand tools, it will have a different appearance than the texture of one that was machine spread.
First, it is best to avoid those things that cause cracks and holes in your new driveway. Gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, power steering and transmission fluid spills and leaks will dilute the liquid asphalt component leaving a hole. If you cannot avoid these things and a hole develops, fill it with cold patch.
Small, hairline cracks may develop in your driveway during the winter. This is due to the expansion and contraction of the ground during that time. Fill these cracks with crack filler or sealer available at your local building supply store or call us to have it done professionally.
To preserve and protect your new driveway, always seal it after it has been paved. Leaving asphalt unprotected it becomes rough, dries out, and essentially loses its life very rapidly. The result is overall deteriorization, ridges, and upheaval causes by frost and freezing.
Sealing also protects your asphalt driveway from the effects of gasoline, lube oil, grease, road salts, and anti-freeze leaking from vehicles, rendering it impervious to these harmful elements. Plus it fills hairline cracks that may result during the winter.
But sealing your new driveway too soon may cause damage! Having your driveway sealed professionally along with regularly scheduled maintenance will preserve and protect your new driveway for many years to come.