Asphalt is made out of a heated mix of gravel, rock chips, sand, and a binder called asphalt cement. Asphalt cement is made of thermoplastics that hardens in cooler temperatures and softens in the heat. This makes newly poured asphalt susceptible to damage, since it is still somewhat warm.
Asphalt provides a cost effective method of paving driveways, pathways and recreational pads. However, this affordable material requires maintenance and special care to ensure your asphalt driveway and other paved surfaces remain smooth and solid for years to come.
Tips for keeping your driveway, pathway and recreational pads intact:
- Do not park vehicles on the driveway for at least 3-5 days
- Do not remove basketball nets and other large or heavy sports equipment from the surface for at least 3-5 days.
- When parking motorcycles and bicycles on the surface, as well as equipment with small wheels, do not use a block under kickstands and wheels to distribute the load across a broader surface.
- Do not turn the steering wheel of your vehicle while in the park position on the asphalt.
- Sealing the asphalt will provide a protective layer against the damage caused by water.
Sealing provides a thin oil-based coating to repel water away from surface cracks, preserving the integrity of the base. Some homeowners apply a sealer to create a darker look or liven up the surface. Sealing can be done as often as desired, but it will not guarantee a crack-free surface. If the asphalt surface has deteriorated with time, a thin layer of fresh asphalt is often the best method of maintenance. As long as the top layer is compatible with the original mixture, this limited application will reinstate the strength and create and attractive finish. However, once water has eroded and washed away the base, the only viable option is to replace the asphalt.