If you are having a new asphalt driveway installed for your residential property, it's imperative to enlist the services of a licensed contractor. A residential asphalt paving contractor will have the experience to get the job done right. After your asphalt driveway has been paved, you'll want to ask the paving contractor about the proper ways to maintain your driveway so it will remain in good condition. It's especially important to know if you've never owned a home before or had an asphalt driveway paved. The following is a list of do's and don'ts (most of which your paving contractor might inform you of) for maintaining your newly installed asphalt driveway:
1. DO Have Your Paving Contractor Sealcoat the Driveway
Over a period of time, an untreated (uncoated) asphalt driveway may show signs of deterioration. This occurs from the oxidation process and is a natural reaction from exposure to the sun, from moisture due to rain and humidity, and from regular wear and tear. If you live in a cold region, the process of thawing and freezing can be harmful to the asphalt as well.
Sealcoating can protect your asphalt driveway from all of these elements. At the very least, it can delay the deterioration a great deal. Your contractor may inform you that it is best to have your asphalt driveway sealcoated every few years.
For best results, or if you have no prior experience, do not attempt to sealcoat your driveway with a cheap do-it-yourself product. Doing so may not provide the results you need, and you could be wasting your money. For the best possible results, have a professional contractor sealcoat your driveway.
2. DON'T Sealcoat Your Asphalt Driveway Too Soon After It's Been Paved
A newly paved asphalt driveway needs time to settle and cure. If you attempt to apply a sealcoat too soon, you could seriously damage the surface of your driveway. Sealcoating the asphalt before it's had a chance to cure could result in making the asphalt super soft. In fact, it may become too soft for your vehicle to safely drive or park on it. Ask your paving contractor, and you will probably be told to wait a minimum of a half a year before having the asphalt driveway sealcoated.
3. DO Consider Adding Edging or Driveway Pavers
Not only will concrete pavers dress up the look of your driveway by adding curb appeal, but they can help prevent damage from weeds and grass that grows too close to the asphalt edge. Basically, pavers are a border that is installed around the edges of your asphalt driveway. If you are inclined to do so, you can install the pavers yourself, or you can have a professional contractor do this service for you. As an alternative to concrete pavers, you may use brick or cobblestone. Choose whichever material best complements your home's exterior.
4. DON'T Let Fuel Spills Remain On the Asphalt
If you notice gasoline spills and oil spots on the asphalt drive, don't let them sit too long. After a period of time, unleaded gasoline will cause a degree of deterioration to asphalt. For this reason, it is best to clean up fuel spills as soon as they occur. If your vehicle uses diesel fuel, it is imperative not to let any fuel spill onto the asphalt driveway, as diesel fuel can cause severe damage very quickly.
5. DO Remove Rock Salt or Ice Melt After It's Done Its Job
While ordinary rock salt won't cause real damage to the asphalt, it may cause staining when left there indefinitely. After the ice melts away, clean off any remaining salt from your driveway to prevent stains from occurring. You can do this using a garden hose.
6. DON'T Neglect to Clean the Asphalt Driveway Periodically
If you don't clean your asphalt drive regularly, it will begin to look messy and may stain. If you notice minor staining, you might want to gather a few essentials for a thorough cleaning job. For a localized stain, use a stiff-bristled cleaning brush, some warm water, and a mild detergent to scrub it away. Otherwise, for everyday cleaning, simply use a hose to spray the driveway free of leaves, dirt, and debris, so it does not have a chance to settle and alter the appearance of the asphalt.