When a homeowner or property owner is considering installing new asphalt pavement, properly taking care of the surface is one of the most vital topics he or she would like to know. The correct time to wait before using the pavement to avoid any possible early damage is another important thing to keep in mind.
If you are planning to invest in asphalt pavement, you may need to weigh the implications of how to take good care of it to ensure that you get the most out of yout investment.
But when is the right time to take care of your freshly laid pavement?
The day you install your asphalt pavement is the right time to start caring for it. Although some individuals inherit their asphalt pavement from former homeowners, so this is not always a possibility. However, if you are thinking of laying new pavement or resurfacing an existing one, now is the time to think about how you can maintain it, ensuring it keeps looking like new.
How long should you wait before you can walk and drive on your freshly laid asphalt?
Once your new asphalt driveway or parking lot has been compacted, it is safe to walk on the surface after 24 hours. However, it is best to wait for a minimum of 72 hours before driving on it and 14 days before you park on the surface.
So, what will happen if you don’t take care of your newly installed asphalt pavement?
Without routine maintenance, even the best-laid parking lots or driveways will begin to form cracks, potholes and deteriorate sooner than anticipated, contributing to the need for costly repairs. It is important to properly maintain freshly laid asphalt pavement to uphold its longevity as gas, water percolation, oil, and other environmental elements can cause it to start eroding.
Proper care for new asphalt instructions
Once you install your new asphalt pavement, it will need care and maintenance, both when it’s new and throughout its lifetime. The better care you offer your freshly laid pavement, the longer it will last, like the rest of the upgrades on your property.
The actual cost of a pavement installation is estimated over its entire lifespan, so adequate care and maintenance are vital to maintaining the cost as low as possible every year.
By complying with the care and maintenance instructions below, you can help assure yourself of long-lasting service life for your new asphalt pavement.
How long to wait before driving on a new surface
It takes new asphalt pavement at least 72 hours to dry enough for vehicle traffic. So, ensure no vehicle uses the new surface until after 72 hours of the installation. However, it is highly recommended that heavy vehicles should be kept out of the new surface even after 72 hours as they can still trigger damage due to their weight.
You should wait for about 14 days before allowing heavy vehicles to use the new asphalt surface.
Assist the asphalt curing process – how long does asphalt take to cure fully?
It takes asphalt six to twelve months to completely cure, and for that period, it remains somewhat more vulnerable to damage.
The curing time of asphalt is partly weather-dependent and varies depending on the thickness and mix type. Also, extreme temperatures can slow the drying process of your freshly laid pavement and also trigger the asphalt to weaken again before it can cure completely.
At that point, sprinkling your parking lot or driveway during hot days to cool the asphalt and harden it temporarily can often help. The rise and fall in temperature cause asphalt to soften and harden. Watering it is advantageous but not obligatory.
As a result, it is much best not to plan asphalt installation or repairs at temperatures above 100°F. Also, do not be worried if soapsuds should show up. The ultimate goal of this detailed procedure is to have a beautiful pavement that will last and look amazing for years to come.
The slower you drive on new asphalt, the less room it has for scarring or scuff marks. Therefore, urge drivers to slow down and drive with care, as speed can destroy asphalt, particularly freshly laid ones.
To prevent your asphalt from scuffing or scarring, always keep your cool while entering your freshly paved area to avoid any unnecessary harm to your asphalt.
Furthermore, if you have asphalt installed for public usage, it is best to enforce speed reduction mechanisms in the area to prevent unnecessary harm.
Mistakes to avoid making with new asphalt
Asphalt is among the most valuable and durable paving products on the market. Still, you have to protect it from misuse and conduct frequent maintenance, ensuring that it stays attractive and usable for the longest possible time.
The wonderful sight of a freshly paved asphalt driveway or parking lot is second to none. The freshly-laid asphalt looks beautiful and gives a new, sleek and upscale look to any driveway or parking lot.
If you take good care of your freshly laid pavement, you will ensure that the beautiful appearance and efficiency are maintained for 15 to 30 years. Neglect it, and it may serve you somewhat 5 to 7 years. Below are the mistakes to avoid making with your new paved asphalt.
Avoid parking in the same spot every day.
It can take your newly installed asphalt pavement up to a year to fully cure, so don’t park every time in the very same spot, or you may generate low spots or create marks in the asphalt.
Allowing things like motorcycles, barbecues, lawn chairs, etc., to stay in the same place for extended periods may trigger asphalt depression. Parking on uncured asphalt frequently in the same place will trigger dents where the wheels rest.
This is more of an issue with driveways, but if your lot has reserved parking spaces, it can also be a concern. To help stop this, ensure everyone understands that they should try not to park precisely the same position every day.
Avoid driving on the edges.
The weakest portion of asphalt pavement is the edge. When too much weight is put on the edges too frequently, it can easily crack or split.
The edges of your new driveway might be a little thinner and more prone to cracking and collapsing, so avoid driving on those edges to help prevent this.
Also, try not to make your vehicle go over the side of your driveway. Your car’s weight will cause the edge to flatten and begin to crumble the freshly laid pavement.
Furthermore, you can also try to extend the compressed crushed stone layer that lies underneath the asphalt top layer to provide additional support; around 6 inches of crushed stone on either section of your driveway ought to do the magic.
Avoid excessive weight on the surface.
Your new asphalt can be degraded by excessive weight from big heavy vehicles. So, always keep concrete trucks, oil trucks, etc., off your new driveway or parking lot.
If you want to store campers for extended periods, put a piece of plywood underneath the tongue jack as well as under the tires to help distribute the weight.
The same applies to any trailers or vehicles you parked and seldom used. Try to keep them out of the driveway if possible and, if not, do well to transfer them from place to place. This will help ensure that the weight is distributed evenly, preventing portions of your driveway from sagging.
Long term asphalt maintenance tips
Below are some long term asphalt maintenance tips to help prolong its service life:
- Ensure proper drainage of water
- Apply Sealcoating regularly
- Care for oil spills
- Remove snow and ice
- Remove weeds and plants
So you have successfully installed a new asphalt driveway or parking lot and beginning to wonder the next things to do to help maintain the surface. General maintenance practices need to be adhered to keep your new pavement always looking like new.
If you take proper measures, your pavement will last for an unbelievably extended time.
Ensure proper drainage of water
Water is undoubtedly the core enemy of asphalt pavement. Hence, adequate drainage installation at the time of constructing your freshly laid pavement is vital. It is also worth knowing that ensuring that the drainage remains functioning throughout the asphalt lifespan is equally important.
It’s incredibly necessary to ensure you have a reliable asphalt pavement drainage framework in place so it can drain perfectly.
A drainage system is probably the most significant part of a pavement installation process. In fact, if it’s not performed the first time correctly, parts of the driveway may need to be totally demolished, re-graded, and replaced so as to have it fixed.
Apply Sealcoating regularly
Using a top-quality sealing product to seal coat your pavement helps slow down the pavement’s degradation, keep it in perfect condition, and improve its life and appearance; asphalt should be sealed each 24 to 36 months for optimum benefit.
The existing oil on your pavement will be locked up by seal coating it, keeping the asphalt flexible, and reducing cracking.
It is recommended that you seal your asphalt pavement one year after installation and every 1/12 to 2 years after that.
Furthermore, it would be best if your pavement is seal coated under appropriate weather conditions-say 50 °F.
Care for oil spills
The other top tip is to prevent corrosive products like antifreeze, gasoline, transmission fluid, oil, etc., from spilling or leaking on your new pavement. Asphalt is an oil-based product; hence, oil and gasoline spills can make the surface dissolved, causing degradation.
To mitigate damage, avoid dropping or leaking these materials on asphalt, and use absorbent materials to clean up any spills. Because these fluids can create holes in a freshly laid pavement that may require immediate repair if they do happen.
Remove snow and ice
If water reaches the pores in your asphalt pavement and freezes, it can lead to a serious problem for you. The freezing of water causes the water to expand, implying that pressure can accumulate below your pavement surface. As time goes on, this can trigger the formation of big cracks and potholes.
If you fail to remove snow from your asphalt pavement properly, it can put your pavement in dangerous conditions and result in hideous issues that can cause serious damage. So, it’s vital that you keep water from freezing in your asphalt pavement using some ice melting material on your paving.
Planting grass along your asphalt pavement’s edges is okay, but planting big shrubs or trees that are supposed to grow large should be avoided.
Although grass can help keep your pavement from soil erosion and add some sort of support to the newly laid pavement, plants with intrusive root systems will do just the opposite.
Big roots can trigger cracking and unevenness in your driveway or parking lot, so watch for plants that may present such a threat. The safest way is to spray any weeds near the asphalt with weed killer before they get out of control.
The life expectancy of asphalt – with and without proper maintenance
Several variables determine asphalt paving’s lifetime, including whether it is freshly constructed or an overlay, the number of vehicles the pavement handle per day, and the vehicles’ weight entering the pavement. Suppose the freshly laid pavement is built correctly, gets prompt repairs, and is properly maintained regularly. In that case, the following estimates should provide you a clue on how long your asphalt pavement should last:
- A residential driveway can last up to 25 years since the driveway does not experience too much traffic.
- Parking lots can last between 15-25 years, depending on the type of vehicle that uses it.
- Residential streets can last about 20 years before considering resurfacing it.
- Highways can last 10-15 years since these roads regularly experienced heavy beating.
Generally, asphalt pavements, if maintained properly, have an expected lifespan of roughly 25 years. Notwithstanding, most asphalt pavements sacrifice 10 % of their structural strength within ten years, and the pavement would have lost 45 % of its integrity and original longevity after 20 years if not adequately maintained.
Should I seal coat my freshly installed asphalt pavement?
No!-No! In reality, it is not ideal for sealing a new asphalt pavement immediately as it will prolong the curing process; it will retain the oils in the asphalt needed to be evaporated to cure.
Some professionals recommend sealing asphalt pavements about 30 days after installing it, then every one or two years after that. This could be an expensive maintenance expenditure and is not normally compulsory(but important) in reality.
The key thing is to ensure you seal your asphalt pavement at the time you start seeing the aggregates in the top layer of asphalt revealing through, or when its first deep black color begins to look quite gray and fading. In a nutshell, do not seal your freshly laid pavement immediately.
After investing in your pavement installation, you would want it to serve you for an extended period, getting the best value for your money. Asphalt is meant to last for decades (approximately 25 years); however, properly caring for it plays a key role in how long it would serve you.
By complying with all the highlighted care and maintenance tricks and tips, you are sure to get the best out of your investment. Although the process may be much of a hassle, it worth all the inconveniences, as it offers your newly installed pavement a long-lasting lifespan.