A new asphalt driveway isn’t just useful, it also improves the overall appearance of your home. If you are planning to have a drive installed, you need to know what to expect. Full curing time can be up to 12 months for newly installed asphalt. Although you don’t have to be incredibly delicate during this curing period, there are a few things to know so that damage doesn’t inadvertently occur.
#1: Stay off the New Drive
Ruts occur on new asphalt when you drive on it too soon after installation. Although heavy vehicles are most prone to causing ruts, any vehicle can cause rutting if the asphalt hasn’t begun to cure. The time from installation to when you can begin parking on your drive varies depending on air temperature and general weather conditions, but you can usually begin utilizing your new driveway within a few days of installation.
Even though you can begin parking on the drive within a few days, avoid long-term sitting for a month or more. If the driveway isn’t fully cured, leaving a car in one place for many days can cause a depression to form. Move the car daily and try to drive on a slightly different path each time you enter the drive until it has cured complete. Driving like this helps to prevent ruts or sunken areas.
#2: Distribute the Weight
Proper weight distribution prevent gouges and divots from forming in the new driveway. Even a small gouge can turn into big problems later. Water collects in the gouge and then it freezes in winter. The expansion of the frozen water can cause a small gouge to develop into a large pothole. Weight distribution is especially important during the summer since the hot asphalt will remain soft for a longer period of time.
A gouge is more likely to form when heavy weight is focused on a small area. For example, the jackstand for a trailer can leave gouges and divots in the drive. Distributing the weight prevents concerns from focused weight. Place a board underneath jacks and similar items so the weight is spread evenly over a larger area of the asphalt.
#3: Mind the Edge
The weakest part of the driveway is along the edge. Weight on the edge can cause the driveway to crumble and crack. Over time, these cracks can spread to the rest of the driveway, resulting in the need for either extensive resurfacing or a new driveway installation.
Keep vehicles and heavy equipment at least one foot from the edge of the drive to prevent damage, especially when the driveway is new and not yet fully cured.
#4: Treat Ice and Snow Wisely
Proper snow and ice management means skipping rock salt as an ice melting agent because it can damage the asphalt paving. Snow blades can also gouge new asphalt if they aren’t used properly. When removing snow with a shovel or snowblower, make sure the blades do not scrape directly against the pavement. Instead, they should leave behind a thin layer of ice that will melt almost immediately once the sun hits the paving.
If you must use an ice melting product, opt for a product like magnesium chloride since it is less damaging to both plants and paving compared to standard rock salt. Use the melt product sparingly and sweep up any excess after the ice melts to further minimize damage.
#5: Keep It Clean
A clean drive is less likely to have damage. Automotive fluids like oil and gasoline can eat away at or degrade the asphalt, as well as cause unattractive stains. Have a sealcoat applied every two to five years to minimize these concerns.
Sweep the driveway often, as well, particularly when the leaves are falling in autumn. Dead leaves can stain asphalt. The leaves also trap moisture against the drive, which can freeze and cause holes to form if the moisture seeps into the asphalt’s pores.
Contact us for more help with all of your asphalt paving needs.