You want your asphalt driveway to look good and last. Whether you’re planning for your new driveway now or you’re trying to maximize the life of your already existing driveway, there are a few key factors to watch for and to prioritize in order to keep your driveway in good shape for the long haul.
All About the Drainage
Your driveway has to be built ready for the weather. The greatest hazards to your asphalt are precipitation and moist conditions. If your driveway doesn’t allow for efficient drainage and water removal, it’s not going to least nearly as long, especially in rainy regions. Both the surface and the subgrade of your pavement must be built to prevent water buildup.
There are many ways you can effectively drain water out from the edge of your asphalt driveway. It’s helpful for the pavement to be built on a slope, as there will be a natural flow for the water to run off. Then you just need to make sure the water can drain out at the end and won’t accumulate and stagnate in the lowest places of the pavement. Consider a French drain, or some other kind of trench around your driveway, and look into using a gravel base for a new driveway to create more drainage.
A Solid Foundation
One of the most important components of a driveway is the foundation. Having a strong, stabilized base and subgrade is essential for asphalt that will stand the test of time. Without this, or if the asphalt is built on especially soft ground, it’ll start to buckle and crack upon contact with cars or trucks on the heavier side.
Instead of building a driveway on wet clay or other topsoil that squishes and compresses with pressure, you have to remove that layer and find something more solid. It can help to place a rock base down first to stabilize the ground before pouring the asphalt on top.
The Right Stuff
Some builders and contractors either don’t know or don’t take the time to consider this, but not all asphalt paving projects have the same needs or concerns. You need a different asphalt mix to match the different specifications. Driveways are going to face different challenges than city roads or highways.
There is plenty of debate about what the perfect mix for an asphalt driveway is, but it’s important you and your builders are thinking about it and not just using whatever is available. In picking a mix, there may be a trade-off between durability and weight-bearing and appearance for the driveway. Using finer materials will make your driveway smoother and uniform, but you may not want to move too far in that direction if your driveway is likely to be carrying some heavier loads.
Watch the Workmanship
Any slips in quality and focus during the construction of the project itself could have serious consequences for your driveway as well. The asphalt has to be properly compacted as it’s being laid. Most builders will also use a tack coat as a binding agent to keep the surface of your driveway together. Bigger problems in stability can also arise overtime if the asphalt mix starts to separate and is not properly mixed before laying. That’s why it’s so important to work with reputable asphalt pavers.
Even after you’ve checked all the boxes and ensured careful construction of your asphalt driveway, there’s still more work to be done if you want to ensure the longest life possible for your driveway. You’ve got to keep up with regular maintenance. You should have professionals check for problems with the drainage in your driveway at regular intervals, in case something changes in the structure and water starts accumulating. Filling cracks or potholes as they appear is also crucial for helping your driveway last.