How Should You Maintain Your Asphalt Driveway?

If you enjoy the seamless appearance of and your vehicle's smooth ride over a paved asphalt driveway, you are not alone. These driveways are incredibly popular among many homeowners. However, they do require certain periodic maintenance to keep them in top condition. Read on to learn about what you should be doing to ensure that your asphalt driveway provides you with hassle-free ownership for decades. 

Avoid sharp objects

Because asphalt is substantially softer and more flexible than cement, stone, and other building materials, it is also more prone to damage from sharp items and objects. If you or your children regularly ride bicycles, leave the kickstands up in an area away from your driveway -- otherwise, they can create holes in your pavement. In especially hot weather, your driveway becomes even more pliable, so shoes with cleats, stilettos, and other pointed objects are also to be avoided. 

Keep an eye on roots

Just as asphalt can be harmed by sharp objects coming from above, it can also suffer damage from roots and other ground issues. Be sure that the area around your driveway is properly back filled and has sufficient drainage. Allowing water to pool near the edges of the paved surface can, over time, cause the asphalt to break down. Also keep an eye on trees or shrubs growing near the driveway. If roots began to grow beneath the asphalt, they can cause the driveway to buckle and crack. 

Apply sealcoating

One way to extend the life of your asphalt driveway is to apply a layer of sealcoating every few years. This protective covering helps shield the asphalt from sun, wind, rain, and other environmental elements that can cause fading and cracking. This sealcoating is available at any home supply store and can be applied fairly easily over the course of a weekend. 

Ensure that vehicles are in good repair

One of the quickest ways to degrade an asphalt driveway is to regularly expose it to engine oil and other caustic fluids. If your vehicle has a tendency to leak fluid while parked, consider parking it on a tarp or other waterproof surface that will prevent these engine liquids from making contact with your driveway. If you do notice a spill, wipe it up as quickly as possible with some shop rags. Although sealcoating by a paving contractor will prevent most liquids from penetrating the asphalt's surface, oil and other substances can break down the protective layer of sealcoating to reach the asphalt below.