Many homeowners choose an asphalt driveway because of the cost savings over concrete and the ability to make basic repairs without the help of a professional. For those who do not mind some regular maintenance, an asphalt driveway can run as much as 35% less than concrete. A professional residential asphalt contractor will provide a solid product for a reasonable price.
Installed asphalt tends to perform well in colder climates because it expands and contracts during temperature changes, lessening the likelihood of premature cracking. For those cracks and holes that do appear, repairs are relatively simple and generally do not detract from the driveways’ overall appearance. With proper installation and regular sealing, you can expect to get at least 15 years from your asphalt driveway, and in many cases, closer to 20.
The smooth black surface of a quality asphalt driveway is an economical way to add a classy touch to the exterior of your home. Sealing brings back that luster, and, as your driveway ages, resurfacing may be an option that will restore it at a fraction of the cost of replacement.
Convenience of installation is another advantage, as asphalt needs little cure time and can usually be used the same day.
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- Lasts 15 to 30 years, depending on usage and maintenance
- Can be used almost immediately after installation
- Apply sealant every 2-3 years to fill cracks and protect
- Oil and debris stains are not obvious
- May be resurfaced to avoid replacement cost
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Asphalt is great choice for budget-conscious people looking for a durable material that is relatively easy to maintain. Asphalt wears well under heavy traffic, and maintenance and small repairs can often be handled with readily available products. Is it best for you? Some common questions are answered below.
My driveway was installed last fall, but it seems soft now that the weather is warm again. Is this normal?
Asphalt generally needs a whole season to fully cure. During cold weather, however, that curing process stops, so if your driveway is installed in the fall, the curing process will have to continue in the spring when temperatures rise again. During this time, you will want to keep heavy and/or sharp objects off your driveway. It also is advisable to avoid parking on the driveway during the hottest part of the day while the asphalt is curing.
Small cracks are appearing on my driveway. Is this just part of the aging process?
Cracks are inevitable as subsoil shifts and your driveway is exposed to freezing and thawing. Filling these cracks in a timely fashion, as well as using a quality sealant will help lengthen the life of your driveway by keeping moisture and water from seeping under the asphalt. If grass or weeds have pushed up through the cracks, treat them or pull them out before filling. There are many products available that make it easy to fill the cracks yourself.
How can I protect the edges of my asphalt driveway?
The edges of an asphalt driveway are usually the first place you see cracking and crumbling because they do not have side supports such as that used when pouring concrete. You can provide some support by adding topsoil around the edges of the driveway and either seeding or laying sod. The growing grass will provide a firm edge and drainage. You can further protect the edges of your driveway be avoiding driving on them.
How often should I seal my asphalt driveway?
The advantage of asphalt is its flexibility, which is maintained by sealing in the oil that is its base. You should seal your new driveway no sooner than one year after installation, but definitely by the third year of life. Thereafter, seal it every two to three years. Follow the directions provided as to dry time and whether to apply a second coat. Always fill cracks before sealing your driveway.
Should I clean my asphalt driveway before sealing?
Using a basic driveway cleaner before sealing is advisable to get the most even application for your sealant. Cleaning the driveway also assures the surface is cool enough to seal. A hot surface with cause the sealant to dry too quickly and create an uneven application.
If my driveway has a lot of cracks, should I consider repaving?
If your driveway has a manageable number of medium cracks that need repaired, or a damaged area that you are able to patch, it is worthwhile to make the repairs and seal upon completion. If your driveway is starting show signs of alligator cracks or large areas that have begun to crumble, you should consider getting the advice of a professional before moving forward on repairs.