Seven Tips For A Trouble-free Asphalt Driveway

If you've recently installed a new asphalt driveway for your home, you need to know how to properly maintain it so that it will serve you for many years. For instance, during the first few weeks after installation, you shouldn't use your driveway. Additionally, there are several preventative measures you should take to avoid potential problems. This includes applying a sealant to the driveway, maintaining landscape edging and avoiding heavy loads and sharp objects.

To maintain your new asphalt driveway, follow these important seven guidelines:

1. Wait to Park

Although you may drive on the asphalt a few days after installation, it's best to wait several days before parking your vehicle on your new driveway. Ideally, a two week waiting period is best. This time frame is known as a "curing" period when asphalt cools and hardens.

If you park your car on the asphalt before it has a chance to harden and set, it may cause indentation or cracking. If your newly installed asphalt driveway sits under the hot summer sun, waiting is even more imperative. Heat from the sun may prolong the curing period.

2. Apply a Sealant After the Asphalt Cools and Hardens

Depending on several factors including usage and environment, you might find it best to seal coat your new asphalt driveway. Although it is not essential, sealcoating may prolong the life of an asphalt drive by protecting it from all kinds of weather conditions.

If your area receives much rain and snow, your asphalt driveway may suffer damage from the excess moisture, which is why sealing is a good idea. There is one rule of thumb to follow however: Wait a few months until the asphalt has completely cured before applying the sealant.

3. Pay Attention to Landscape Edging

The landscaping around the asphalt edging needs to be maintained and trimmed regularly. Otherwise, weeds, vegetation and tree roots may grow through the driveway. This is unsightly and may cause damage.

4. Use Caution for Heavy Loads

Do you plan on parking a motor home or heavy boat on your driveway for an extended period of time? If so, consider balancing the weight of the heavy load. Do so by placing thick boards of wood underneath the vehicle's tires. This may prevent damage to the asphalt during the initial "breaking in" period of the first year or so.

5. Clean Up Oil Spills Pronto

Because oil may seep into the asphalt and cause deterioration, it's imperative to clean up any oil leaks at once. Also, it's a good idea to avoid fueling your lawnmower or other fuel-operated devices on the driveway.

6. Keep Sharp, Piecing Objects off the Driveway

Vehicle jacks, bicycle kickstands and other sharp objects may damage the asphalt. To avoid piercing a hole right through the driveway, store these objects in the garage or elsewhere. Also, if you notice any rocks, glass fragments or nails on the driveway, remove them at once.

7. Change It Up

Do you find yourself routinely parking on one side of the driveway? Just as your mattress will eventually show body impressions, a driveway is prone to indentations when a vehicle parks on one side of the drive only. While you cannot "rotate" your driveway as you can a mattress, you can change your parking habits. Rather than consistently parking your vehicle in the same exact spot, park in alternate areas. This will place less wear on the asphalt.

If you have further concerns, a professional may help you choose the right products for your new asphalt driveway. Additionally, many contractors offer asphalt repair services. These services may prolong the life of your driveway and save you money in the long run. For more information on asphalt maintenance, contact a local business.