Asphalt driveways can last decades as long as they are properly maintained. Weathering poses the greatest risk to asphalt, but it can be prevented.
Weathering On Asphalt
Although asphalt is durable and long-lasting, weathering will wear it down. The most obvious weathering is from repeated moisture exposure. Rain, snow, and humidity are all examples of moisture weathering. Asphalt is naturally porous, so moisture can seep quite deeply into the surface.
Extreme temperatures, along with UV rays from the sun, also cause asphalt weathering. Heat softens asphalt, which is most noticeable on newer asphalt, but even old asphalt isn't immune to heat. UV rays also penetrate into the top layer of the asphalt, affecting the surface. Cold temperatures mainly affect moisture trapped inside the asphalt pores.
Types of Damages
The most common type of weathering damage is when moisture inside the asphalt freezes and expands. This expansion causes the asphalt to crack apart. Damage can appear as fractures and cracks, or the surface may begin to crumble until a full pothole forms. In extreme cases, the crumbling will reach all the way to the base material beneath the asphalt and cause major damage. At this point, the asphalt will begin to fail.
UV damage makes this worse. It weakens the asphalt surface so that even more moisture can make its way in. The dried-out surface may develop a thin network of hairline cracks as a result of UV damage, as well. Temperature fluctuations also make matters worse. Eventually, the asphalt surface becomes faded and granular on the surface, having lost its smooth, dark surface to the effects of weathering.
The good news is that weathering damage can be prevented. The key to doing so is a preventative maintenance treatment called sealcoating. Sealcoating consists of asphalt particles suspended in a sealant material. Sealcoating is applied over the top of the existing asphalt, where it seals over small damages and creates a barrier against further weathering.
Before sealcoating can be applied, your contractor must first fix any damages that have already occurred. This means filling cracks and repairing potholes with an asphalt hot patch mixture. Once this is done, the sealcoat is spread in a thin layer over the asphalt. It cures in a couple of days, and the driveway looks nearly new with the new sealcoat. Sealcoat needs to be reapplied every few years. If water droplets seep into the asphalt instead of beading on the surface, it is time for a fresh coat.
Contact a driveway sealcoating service to learn more about prolonging the life of your driveway.Share
8 March 2021
When my husband and I bought our house years ago, we thought it would be our "starter" home and we would move in a few years. We soon had two children, and we then decided against moving since we live in a great school district and we love our neighbors. However, I was growing very tired of the appearance of our home. We painted it a different color, and it still seemed like the "same old house" that we were tired of. We finally deciding that maybe good landscaping would "do the trick" and make our home more enjoyable to use again. We were right, and I now love our home! I now love spending time in our yard and just enjoying the scenery. I have such a passion for landscaping now I decided to create a blog about it. I plan to share many landscaping tips, so come back!