If you’ve recently repaved your driveway or have purchased a new home with a new asphalt driveway, here are some tips to keep in mind to keep your new drive looking great.
What is the time it takes for asphalt to cure?
Asphalt takes about a year to fully cure in terms of science. But don’t worry; you won’t have to remain off your new asphalt driveway for very long!
Avoiding a New Asphalt Driveway
So, when will I be able to park in my new asphalt driveway?
In an ideal scenario, people, pets, and cars would be kept off a newly built asphalt driveway for at least three full days — and up to five days in the summer when temperatures are at their highest.
Sorry, but if you have a camper or boat on a trailer, keep it off the new asphalt for at least a month, preferably a year! If you need to park your camper or boat, place plywood under the jack and tires to spread the weight and prevent divots or depressions on your driveway. Also, if you have a big vehicle, don’t park it on your asphalt driveway!
Are there any other measures I should take when parking if it takes a year to fully cure?
Even though you should be able to park your car on your new driveway within a week, the asphalt is still drying, therefore we recommend that you avoid parking in the same area every day for the first twelve months. If your driveway is wide enough, you should be able to park in a little different position each time.
Why have I been told to stay away from the asphalt driveway’s edges?
Your new driveway’s borders are likely to be thinner and more susceptible to cracking and collapsing. The easiest method to prevent this is to avoid driving on those edges; you should also consider extending the compacted crushed stone layer beneath the asphalt top layer to provide additional support. 6 inches of crushed stone on both sides of your driveway should suffice.
When Should a New Asphalt Driveway Be Sealed?
Is it necessary to seal my brand-new asphalt driveway?
No! In fact, sealing a new asphalt driveway right immediately will prolong the curing process by trapping the oils in the asphalt that must evaporate for it to cure. Asphalt driveways should be sealed 30 days after installation and then every one or two years after that, according to some installers. This could be an expensive maintenance charge that isn’t generally required.
The most important thing is to seal your asphalt driveways when the aggregates in the top layer of asphalt start to show through, or when the rich black color starts to look gray and faded (see more about this fading below).
Is there anything else I can do to safeguard the top layer of asphalt?
Aside from not parking in the same area all the time, avoid spilling or leaking corrosive materials such as gasoline, antifreeze, transmission fluid, or oil. These fluids can develop holes in asphalt, which must be repaired as soon as possible.
Problems with New Asphalt Driveways
But how can I make sure my asphalt driveway doesn’t crack?
If your new asphalt driveway begins to fracture, it may have been installed improperly. Because the top layer of asphalt is quite flexible, if it begins to fracture after a few years, the fissures may be caused by poorly constructed layers lower underneath.
As a result, be sure your asphalt driving contractor knows what he’s doing. A layer of underlying dirt should be present, followed by 4 to 8 inches of crushed stone on top (depending on whether your underlying soil is sand or clay based). Both of these layers should be crushed with a roller and let to settle for at least a week before applying and compacting the top layer of asphalt aggregate.
Even if asphalt is correctly placed, local climatic conditions can cause cracks to occur — a combination of intense UV rays in the summer and ice accumulation in the winter can make the asphalt brittle and more susceptible to cracking.
Furthermore, as asphalt dries, it oxidizes, changing its color from black to gray – another clue that the asphalt is getting more fragile. When you see that your new driveway is discolored but not damaged, it’s time to seal it! Seal-coating a well-designed and constructed asphalt driveway every 2 to 5 years is recommended by the Asphalt Institute.
Taking Care of a New Asphalt Driveway
Is it true that I should be watering my asphalt driveway?
When the temperature outdoors exceeds 80 degrees, it’s a good idea to water down your asphalt driveway because the asphalt can soften. Cold water will effectively stop the softening process and temporarily firm your driveway.
What is the expected lifespan of an asphalt driveway?
With regular care and upkeep, a professionally built asphalt driveway can last up to 15 years before it needs to be replaced. Learn how much a new or replacement asphalt driveway will cost.