One of the great things about an asphalt paved surface is that the maintenance is quite simple, it does not require constant attention to maintain an asphalt surface. Asphalt remains flexible, which is what makes it a superior paving product in four season climates. Due to this flexibility the surface can seem soft and even develop marks or indentations, especially when new. Here are some great tips to keep your driveway or parking lot in great shape for years to come:
- DO NOT drive on or park on a newly paved driveway surface for as long as 5-7 days the hotter the weather the longer you should stay off the driveway. (Commercial parking lots can generally be used much sooner do the greater amount of weight used to compress the surface, although a 60 ton trailer driving over newly paved asphalt compacted with the equivalent of 10 tons will likely result in marks).
- DO NOT park very close to or over the edge of the asphalt surface. The surrounding ground is likely not prepared to take the weight of a vehicle, soil will be pushed under the paved surface causing a weakened base and possibly an area for water to pool and freeze under the surface.
- DO pay attention to not allow a vehicle to sit on a newly paved surface for an extended period of time during a heat wave as marks and indentations can occur. Asphalt when heated will re-soften, this is most apparent in the first 3-5 years of an asphalt surfaces life. Due to the very dark black surface the asphalt absorbs a lot of heat and becomes far hotter than the ambient air temperature so hot in fact that it can burn bare feet.
- DO NOT turn your vehicles wheels while sitting still, ensure the vehicle is moving before steering.
- DO NOT allow gas, diesel, or oil to get on the paved surface, these materials will eat away at the asphalt weakening it. An asphalt sealer as recommended or provided by O'Brien Paving Inc may be used to help prevent or decrease the damage from oil based products.
- DO NOT put pointed or heavy weight small footprint objects directly on paved surface. (Ladders, lawn chairs, tire chains, kickstands, even pointy heeled shoes, etc.) Use a board to spread the load when it is safe to do so. (Please be careful with ladders, as a board between the later and asphalt surface may cause the ladder to slip if there is not enough friction between the board and driveway. Always use a spotter to hold the ladder.)
- DO NOT use any sealer for at least 90 days on a new asphalt surface. If you do want to seal your driveway or parking lot, we only recommend using an asphalt based sealer. Acrylic and cold-tar based sealers are terrible for your driveway and can actually speed up the aging process by causing the asphalt to crack during its natural expansion and contraction due to changes in temperature. Call us for an estimate or more specific information before sealing.
- DO stagger your parking instead of always parking in exactly the same place, this will help spread the wear increasing the life expectancy of your driveway.
- DO If you want to prevent grass or weeds from encroaching on the side of the driveway feel free to Edge, however grass spreads under the soil, grass over the tamped edge of asphalt will not easily spread under the asphalt surface, just edge to the top corner of the asphalt. Stone or soil over the 45° temp side of the asphalt can help to strengthen the edge of the driveway by preventing erosion and distributing weight if the edge is driven over. If any vegetation should appear through the asphalt surface use a weed killer. Often a mix of salt, vinegar, and dish soap, will be enough to kill a weed early on. Damage can be repaired with heat and tamping
- AVOID very heavy vehicles for which or driveway or parking lot were not engineered to handle. Driving a fully loaded concrete truck, even on a driveway meant to easily withstand the weight of a tow truck for years will likely result in immediate damage even if not visible to the eye, the base may shift or the sub-base become unstable which can quickly cause a problem. That being said, we always over engineer our driveways for there intended purposes, because life happens.
Sealer and Crack Filler
O'Brien Paving Inc. engineers our driveways to last 3-6 times as long as most companies in the area. Under ideal conditions our asphalt driveways and parking lots do will not 100% require seal coating. However sealer makes a driveway or parking lot look excellent, and seeing as we live in the real world close to ideal conditions are almost never met. This is why O'Brien Paving Inc. offers sealing and crack filling.
Sealing a driveway or parking lot with a high quality asphalt based sealer can help increase the life expectancy in two ways. 1.) It will soak in to the asphalt helping to replace some of the bitumen eaten away by oil or gas spills on the driveway. 2.) Sealer will fill in any minute crevasses the driveway, stopping water from penetrating, freezing, and expanding causing cracks to form. Sealer will only fill the smallest cracks and help prevent them from growing. For larger cracks a crack filler is the best options. For driveways, liquid crack filler can be used to help increase the life of the asphalt, make sure cracks are relatively clean so the crack filler can penetrate the crack, apply crack filler pretty liberally, there must be enough to cope with the expansion and contraction of the driveway. Store bought crack filler should be applied every year, the best time for application is in the fall before the winter and freezing comes. For larger parking lots the best route is hot rubberized crack filler which is melted and poured in the cracks using a machine. Hot rubberized crack filler can last for years, and really can help extend the life of an aging parking lot. While hot rubberized crack filler can be used on driveways it is more expensive due to the fuel costs and time it takes to initially heat the hot rubberized crack filler.
If you have any questions regarding the maintenance of your driveway or parking lot please send us an email on our contact page and we would be happy to assist you.