Maintaining and performing regular upkeep on your asphalt driveway is the key to helping it to last for many years. In fact, an asphalt driveway can last up to 30 years with the right care. Here are two important tasks you can complete to help keep your asphalt driveway in good condition.
Repair Edge Cracking
The edges of your asphalt driveway can receive a great deal of pressure and stress whenever a vehicle drives over its edges. This is especially true when the soil beneath the asphalt or the asphalt's foundation layer of gravel has broken down over time and no longer provides the support the asphalt edge needs. This pressure and stress on the edges of your asphalt can cause it to crack and break apart. Because the edge of the asphalt is usually the thinnest area on your pavement, it can easily show signs of wear and stress, crumbling apart.
To repair cracking edges, use a shovel or pry bar to lift up any cracked and segmented pieces of asphalt edge. Remove any vegetation that has begun to grow along the edges, which can also cause damage.
Using the edge of your shovel or a concrete saw, cut any jagged edges of asphalt to create smooth edges and prepare it for repair. Next, fill in any missing areas of the gravel base layer on your repair section, and compact the gravel with a compactor. Be sure the new layer of gravel is the same thickness as the existing gravel base.
Apply a new layer of hot-mix asphalt if you have access to it, or bagged, cold-mix asphalt, which you can find at most home improvement stores, onto the area of repair. Use your compactor or a hand tamp to compress the new asphalt into a smooth and compressed layer, tapering to the edges of the pavement.
Last, build up the soil next to the edges of your driveway with a layer of gravel or soil to make the asphalt surface level with the surrounding terrain. This covers the tapered edges of the asphalt and prevents further damage to the asphalt's edges from misdirected vehicles.
Remove Oil Stain Damage
When you regularly use your asphalt driveway for parking and driving your vehicles upon it, the chances are high that the asphalt will become stained with drips and spots from vehicle oils. It is important to clean them from the surface of your asphalt, as oil stains from your vehicles can soften the asphalt materials and loosen the binders that hold together the aggregate. Then over time, the softened material will begin to lose its gravel aggregate and form a pitted area on your asphalt, causing the pavement's surface to break apart and form potholes.
The best way to prevent oil stain damage is to clean the surface of your asphalt driveway with a degreaser periodically, or as oil stains appear on its surface from dripping vehicles. You can find a degreaser to perform this maintenance at most home improvement stores. Apply the degreaser cleaner and some water to the oil stains and scrub it with a long-handled scrub brush. Rinse this clean with a pressure washer or your garden hose with a sprayer attachment.
If the oil stain has remained on the surface of your asphalt for too long, it will begin to degrade the top layer of asphalt. In this situation, it is not effective to wash the oil from the asphalt, as it has already penetrated down into the asphalt.
To remedy this situation, you will need to either cut out the damaged layer of asphalt with a concrete saw or grind down the damage from the surface and replace it with new hot-mix asphalt or cold-patch asphalt mix. If you don't remove the oil damage before applying a new asphalt patch, the oil stain will continue to degrade and soften the underlying asphalt, causing the new asphalt patch to fail.
Use these two tips to help you keep your asphalt driveway well-maintained and lasting as long as possible. Contact a professional asphalt patching service in your area for additional advice.