When you have a new asphalt pavement built, you want it to preserve its quality, curb appeal, and flexibility as long as possible. There are numerous beneficial reasons asphalt is a favorite option for residential and commercial parking lots and driveways, including longevity and flexibility.
Adequate care and maintenance should commence immediately after the asphalt is installed. Part of adequate care is to understand the best time to wait before using your freshly laid asphalt pavement and things you can do to keep it aesthetically appealing and operational, enduring for longer years.
Yes, of course, asphalt is designed to last you a good number of years, but that doesn’t suggest that you shouldn’t take care of it. Adequate maintenance should be done to ensure outstanding functioning asphalt pavement.
How can you properly maintain your new asphalt pavement?
Here are a few maintenance tips you may adopt to prolong the life service and attractiveness of your asphalt pavement:
- Allow your asphalt driveway to fully dry and harden for at least 2- 3 days (depending on the temperature heat) before you can use it
- Seal coat your driveway, parking lot, etc. every two to three years
- Always pay close attention to the edges of your asphalt pavement
- Carry out regular cleaning of the asphalt pavement
- Stop water from pooling and standing on your asphalt pavement
- Avoid fuel, anti-freeze, oil, fluid spills, power steering, and leaks on your asphalt pavement
- Always keep excessive weight off your new pavement.
- Ensure you park in random spots for the first six to twelve months.
You will enjoy an asphalt driveway, parking lot for long periods if you know how to maintain it properly.
Proper care for new asphalt instructions
Maintaining your asphalt pavement is always crucial, but this is significantly intensified when the pavement is brand new. Knowing how to take proper care of your new asphalt plays an essential role in its future survival
How long to wait before driving on a new surface
Asphalt drying time is influenced by weather conditions and the thickness of the asphalt.
Experts suggest 48 to 72 hours as the optimal time to allow vehicle traffic on your newly paved driveway. This is for fresh asphalt, as resurfaced asphalt can dry almost immediately after completing it
Assist the asphalt curing process
As asphalt contains liquid tar, it requires some time to harden and cure properly. However, some factors determine an asphalt curing time, including dilution rate, the thickness of the asphalt, humidity, and temperature.
Your parking lot or driveway will ideally be completely cured within six to twelve months; before then, it will stay malleable and soft.
Take your time accessing your freshly paved surface because driving your vehicle at a slower speed will minimize scuff marks and scarring on the new asphalt surface. If you travel at a slower speed, you’ll avoid any harm from happening.
Again, if you have new pavement installed either for personal or public use, it’s safer to introduce speed mitigation strategies in the area to prevent unnecessary damage.
Mistakes to avoid making with new asphalt
- Avoid parking in the same spot every day
- Avoid driving on the edges
- Avoid excessive weight on the new asphalt surface
If you’re thinking of installing a new asphalt lot or driveway in the near future or already have one recently laid, avoid the below mistakes.
Avoid parking in the same spot every day.
If you allow people to park in exactly the same spot regularly on uncured asphalt, it can leave marks or develop low spots in the asphalt where the wheels stay. This is more of a concern with driveways but can as well be a problem if your lot has designated parking spaces.
Always ensure people know that they ought to try and avoid parking in precisely the very same position every day to help prevent this. Also, if there are trailers or vehicles parked and not moved for many days at a time, put a piece of plywood underneath the tongue
Avoid driving on the edges
The edges of an asphalt driveway are its weakest sections. So, avoid driving off your asphalt driveway’s edges to prevent them from cracking and crumbling owing to a lack of side support. Driving over the edges places undue weight on them, causing cracking. And this will result in other issues that could be prevented.
You may opt to support the sides by using topsoil to build up the edges, but this should only be done after the driveway has fully cure
Avoid excessive weight on the new asphalt surface
Too much weight from big heavy vehicles can cause depression to your new pavement. Hence, always make sure you keep any big trucks off your new driveway.
In the event that you are storing boats or campers for long durations, put a piece of plywood underneath the tongue jack as well as under the tires.
Long term asphalt maintenance tips
- Ensure proper drainage of water
- Apply Sealcoating regularly
- Care for oil spills
- Remove snow and ice
- Remove weeds and plants.
Irrespective of asphalt longevity coupled with other positive characteristics, its surfaces need to be adequately maintained to extend the service life.
A paved asphalt driveway will boost the aesthetic appeal and maximize the value of your home. But when you invest in your asphalt pavement installation, it is essential to understand how to take care of it, keeping it looking perfect.
Professional tips to help you maintain your pavement for durability:
Ensure proper drainage of water
Whether your pavement has been in existence for years or you’re planning to build a new surface, you need to consider the correct drainage system to improve water flow off your parking lot or driveway. Instead of putting your property at risk, invest in good drainage for your paved surface.
Adequate subsurface drainage will keep the water flowing. Implementing an aggregate base together with quality class 5 aggregate would help your base layer to be stable, solid and to drain the water away from the asphalt pavement rapidly.
Water has the ability to decrease the life expectancy of your new pavement (driveway or lot) if you fail to pay careful attention to proper drainage system installation. A surface that continuously accumulates standing water does have a drainage issue that needs to be addressed.
In a nutshell, plan a new asphalt pavement project with correct water management in mind.
Apply Sealcoating regularly
Sealcoating is among the most critical things you should be doing to protect your asphalt against potential degradation over time. Sealcoating delays infiltration from harmful fluids like vehicle fluids. It also protects asphalt against exposure to the elements (such as moisture) and decreases the likelihood of potholes formation.
Apply a seal coat a year after the asphalt has been installed and then every two to three years afterward since exposed pavement stays porous, becomes rough, dry out, and loses its existence rapidly.
Notwithstanding, avoid over sealing, as it will reduce the service life of the pavement. You should only apply a seal coat when the initial seal coat is stripped off by traffic to a level where large parts of the bare pavement underneath the seal coat are revealing.
Care for oil spills
Whatever leaks out of an automobile has the tendency to break down asphalt, deteriorating the surface. If you observe any oil, transmission fluid, or gas spilled over to asphalt, you should wash it off immediately because it can lead to significant issues.
Make sure you often clean spills up with water, a soft brush, and dish soap to help keep your new pavement flexible and stable.
Also, any holes caused by these spills ought to be covered with a cold patch. In northern climates, where weather changes are severe, contraction and expansion cracks are inevitable.
Any hairline cracks that might have evolved over the winter due to the expansion and contraction of the ground should be covered using crack filler.
Remove snow and ice
Winter can hurt asphalt since there is constant ice and snow on the ground. This mainly makes a new asphalt pavement vulnerable.
You can make use of a lightweight plastic shovel to have snow and ice removed from your driveway or parking lot. You are also required to shovel early and regularly so as to prevent the ice or snow from piling up on the asphalt.
To avoid damaging your pavement by the shoveling action, you should hold the shovel at a shallow angle while removing snow and ice. Avoid holding shovels at a steep angle or using an ice pick to dig into your pavement.
Using salt and brine solutions is also an excellent way to have snow and ice removed from your pavement. This strategy has been utilized on many roadways for some time now.
Traditionally, salt has been used in the winter months to melt snow and ice from residential and commercial pavement while delivering more traction for vehicles.
Perhaps you do not have the time to shovel your driveway or apply salt and brine, keeping up with snowfall, do well to employ a reputable winter removal service provider to make sure that your new pavement (lot or driveway) is treated with utmost care.
A snow blower is a safe way to have snow and ice removed from your parking lot or driveway.
Remove weeds and plants.
You will find weeds growing nearly anywhere and can easily get out of hand if not handled on time. Weeds can sprout up through tiny cracks on hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt, cracking it more or generating trip and bumps hazards.
They can even eat away at disintegrating edges and even push up from below a surface that is thinning. The roots themselves can trigger substantial amounts of damage, disintegrating the surface. Hence, the very time you observe weeds sprouting, eliminate them immediately.
Pulling them will make them disappear only for a short while unless you are certain that you also got all of the root structure. This can be daunting or impossible if the weeds are growing from underneath a solid surface; therefore, use a weed killer to stop weeds from coming back.
Suppose you are not certain of the type of weed killer to use.
In that case, you can seek the advice of a landscape professional because some herbicides can trigger environmental harm, particularly as they are easily washed away from asphalt or concrete into storm drains.
The life expectancy of asphalt – with and without proper maintenance
An asphalt pavement’s expected lifespan depends on a variety of factors, such as installation quality, weather, adequate maintenance, type of materials, and much more.
For new pavement installation, the normal design life is 20 years (for regular highways) and 30 years (for high-volume highways). That being said, it is possible to make asphalt pavement last 25-30 years with correct maintenance, but this depends on how solid the foundation is, the underlying soil types, how well particular soils drain, and the thickness of the original pavement was paved.
Most asphalt types can offer approximately 90% of their original structural integrity level after 10 years without regular maintenance. Once after twenty years, the asphalt pavement will only have 55% of its original durability.
What are the ways to extend the service life of your asphalt pavement?
By paying close attention to the asphalt pavement condition, you can increase its lifespan and cut repair costs. The following are the things you should do to prolong your asphalt service life:
- Adopt routine seal coating, probably every two to three years, to protect your pavement from holes, cracks, weather elements, and much more.
- Carry out thorough inspections on a regular basis to spot and fix tiny cracks in the asphalt, preventing extensive damage and expensive repairs
- If you want to make sure your asphalt pavement serves you as long as possible, invest in high-quality installation.
- Know the right time to overlay asphalt when it is in bad shape instead of making small fixes to enhance the pavement lifespan without expensive replacement.
- Always maintain your asphalt pavement clean as big debris can trigger cracks and lead to pooling water. Besides, they can fill up the damage and deter you from easily repairing it. A cleaned new pavement lasts a lot longer, looks way better, and provides superior features.
An asphalt pavement installation for residential or commercial use is a considerable investment. And of course, you want your investment to give you the best value by performing excellently, lasting for a long time.
Yes, asphalt material is durable, flexible, solid, and when used to build a pavement, it can last for a surprising number of years. However, proper maintenance plays a crucial role in how long an asphalt pavement will serve you.
For that reason, it is vital to employ adequate regular asphalt maintenance strategies to maintain and extend your pavement’s life.
You can also seek experts’ advice on how best to take care of your pavement so that your investment can deliver the expected service life.