Best practices on driveway care
In this blog article we provide a few ideas for your driveway maintenance and care.
Asphalt contains liquid tar which needs time to harden and cure. Your driveway will be fully cured usually within 24 months; until then it will remain pliable and soft. We recommend keeping automobiles off for at least 7 full days, and longer in hot weather.
Even when cured, asphalt can sometimes soften in extremely hot weather and harden as temperatures fall. To temporarily harden hot asphalt, you can water it down with a garden hose. If soap suds should appear, do not be alarmed. This is a reaction between the diesel fuel found in asphalt and the chlorine found in some city water.
To avoid scarring, do not pull out too fast, pull in too quickly, or drive too fast on your asphalt driveway. During the initial curing time, don’t park in the same spot all the time and don’t use a jack stand or car ramps unless you put a piece of plywood underneath to distribute the weight. Do not turn your steering wheel back and forth when your car is not moving.
Large heavy vehicles can depress and cause ruts in your new blacktop. Keep heavy trucks (concrete, oil, landscaping, etc.) off your new driveway. If a camper or other vehicle will be stored for a long period of time, place a piece of plywood under the tongue jack and tires.
Do not walk on your new drive with high heel shoes, place lawn chairs, bicycle kick stands, or any other sharp objects on it. They will create holes and depressions.
The edges are the weakest part of your driveway due to the lack of side support. Do not drive on the edges, since they will crack and crumble in time. Building up the sides of your driveway with topsoil will support the edges after the grass is grown.
Your driveway may look smoother in some areas than in others because of the makeup of blacktop. Blacktop is composed of various sizes of stone, sand, liquid asphalt and other ingredients which cause a varied texture of the surface. Also, blacktop areas that have been raked and spread with hand tools may appear different in texture from those spread by machine.
Avoid gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, power steering and transmission fluid spills and leaks. These will dilute the liquid asphalt in your blacktop. Any hole left by these spills should be filled with cold patch. Any hairline cracks that may develop due to the contraction and expansion of the ground should be filled with crack filler. These products can be purchased from your local building supply store.
To preserve your new driveway, it is advisable to seal coat your driveway 3-6 months after it has been paved. Sealing too soon, however, may cause damage to your new driveway. Because blacktop is naturally porous, water can seep into and through the paving. This not only causes deterioration, but results in ridges and upheaval due to frost and freezing. Asphalt is also softened and broken up by gasoline, lube oil, grease, road salts and anti-freeze which drips from cars. Sealer protects blacktop with a coating that is impervious to these harmful elements. Unprotected driveways remain porous, dry out, become rough, and lose their life rapidly.