How to Drain Asphalt Driveway Puddles

How to Drain Asphalt Driveway Puddles

As you may know, water, if it sits on any surface for a period of time, starts to wreak havoc pretty quickly. As for construction projects around your home or business, water is usually the enemy.  It’s the same rule of thumb for your driveway as it is for your home; Keep the water off and out. If you have just constructed a new Asphalt driveway or are simply doing your best to preserve the existing one you already have, then you found the best article on how to drain asphalt driveway puddles.

Making sure that you don’t have standing water puddles on your asphalt driveway is important.

How Can You Drain Asphalt Driveway Puddles?

No-one should like to see those puddles of water, just sitting there on their driveway, slowly deteriorating their investment.  It is not good for the material.  Lucky for you, there are some solutions you can take to protect your house and driveway.

  • Ensure that your property is graded correctly with a slight downward pitch to direct water away from your house and driveway
  • Install a proper drain system to allow water to flow away
  • Clear standing water with household items like standard house broom, squeegee, or leaf blower
The house with a small puddle on an asphalt driveway

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What causes puddles to form on asphalt driveways?

The origin of why you have standing water puddles on your asphalt driveway can be due to several factors:

  • Improper grading and compaction
  • Bad design by engineer – No drainage or run-off
  • Poor construction of base layer
  • Inferior materials/products
  • Did not allow asphalt to set properly before using
  • Improper maintenance and care

Any of the above mentioned reasons are plenty of excuses to blame for those puddles you have on your driveway. However, if you are getting ready to design and build a brand new asphalt driveway, it is very important to find the right company to do the job.

Hire a contractor

Hiring an experienced and locally trusted contractor, should be your first priority.  Simply put, true professional companies will adhere to all the proper steps and follow industry standards, to provide you with a great finished product.

When your driveway is initially prepped and being constructed, the base layer is critical to ensuring your driveway will last the longest amount of time. If corners are cut, due to budget restrictions, Poor construction or inexperienced installers, you can bet the bank that you will have puddles on your driveway in no-time.

According to the professionals at the National Pavement Association ,the base layer of a residential driveway at a minimum should be 3.5” thick, if you want the driveway‘s lifespan to last over 12 years.  The Ideal base layer thickness is 4-6 inches thick, and compacted very well, with a machine.  

Once the base layer is prepped and it is compacted and graded properly, a reputable contractor will take in account the weather elements for your area; snow, ice, excessive rain, etc.  By doing this and planning accordingly, your driveway will have some grade and slope to help in water run-off as well as other preventative measures. Drain systems can be added in your driveway, to help in regions that experience in-climate weather often.

It may be a little more costly up-front, to plan and prevent, but in the long-run, it will save you money.

By not cutting any corners in the installation process and hiring the right company, you are giving yourself the best opportunity for a driveway that will last you a lifetime. Once the driveway has been paved with asphalt, it is important to follow the suggested cure and set time allotted to you from your contractor. This is where many people go wrong.  

Asphalt is a very hard and dense material, once it has set.

Prior to curing and setting, it is very soft.  If you don’t allow it to harden completely and use it before it does so, then, you can guarantee you will have puddles on your brand-new driveway. All the time, people are impatient and drive their cars, trucks and what-not’s, on the asphalt and if it’s not set properly, it will leave indentations. The indentations may be ever so slight, not even visible to the naked eye, but, over time, these indentations will gather a little water and by then, it’s too late.

The damage is done.  Don’t let this be you.

Alligator cracks on the wet asphalt driveway

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Why standing water can be damaging to asphalt driveways”.

Standing water on your driveway is the enemy, it must be eradicated.  Now that you know how to drain standing water off your asphalt driveway, this is why it’s so important. The Illinois Chapter Community Institute explains how damaging standing water (puddles) actually is. When water is left to sit on an asphalt surface, the issue is asphalt is porous, and the water saturates into the asphalt, slowly deteriorating it.

Once the water compromises the surface, the damage is usually done.  As the temperature throughout the day changes, hot to cold or vice-versa, it creates MORE moisture. The moisture is very slow to evaporate or disappear at this point.

Eventually as the seasons change (if you live somewhere you don’t experience winter, some of this may not apply) the moisture from the puddles has seeped into the base layer and sub-grade.  This is where the real damage to your driveway begins.  When the water & moisture cools, freezes or even warms up, it “Heaves” the ground and asphalt, which is simply the ground expanding and contracting.

This scales the little water puddles up to cracks and pot-holes in your driveway

If you take the time to hire a reputable contractor and work closely with them to ensure your driveway has proper drainage, you will be ahead of the game in the long run.

The process of asphalt coating

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How asphalt driveway puddles can be prevented

If you have made it to this point without having to know how to drain your asphalt puddles, you are lucky. But, it is probably getting close to the time for you to seal OR reseal your asphalt driveway. The folks at Consumer Reports urge consumers who have had a brand new driveway installed the importance of ensuring it’s seal-coated and protected properly. This keeps oil and moisture out of the material and should be done every three years, when the temperatures are between 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Your asphalt driveway should be resealed every three years.

It isn’t the end of the world if you do have puddles on your driveway after a snow, rain storm or the random irrigation overspray. Preventative maintenance can range from cheap to expensive; but remember you get-what you pay for.  It’s very easy to go out there and sweep off the water puddles yourself; or you can hire someone, maybe the neighborhood kid or a local service.  The best option to fix your existing driveway is to do your research and hire a local contractor to come out and fix the problems properly.  Depending on the size of area that is holding water, your driveway may require a survey to test the foundation and problem areas. You want to ensure that the problem won’t come back, so several things may be done.

  • Problem area can be cut out and new asphalt added
  • Asphalt can be resurfaced
  • Patching can be applied


The decision and responsibility is ultimately up to you, the homeowner to care for your driveway as an investment. Protecting it and keeping-up on regular maintenance goes all long way in the preservation of your driveway. Ask your local paving contractor what steps they recommend you take to care for your driveway, since different climates present different issues. Now you know how to drain asphalt driveway puddles! Follow the expert advice of pavingfinder.com to get your questions answered for all your driveway needs.

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About the Author: Chris Hawk

Chris is a paver with more than 15 years' expertise in the field. He has established a reputation as an expert and trustworthy specialist with a track record of providing his clients with top-notch paving solutions.