Pavement Maintenance and Care
Maintaining Your New Driveway
If designed and built correctly, a hot mix asphalt driveway will give you years of effective service.
A high-grade asphalt emulsion sealer (sometimes called bituminous emulsified sealer) should be applied every two to five years, depending on your climate, wear patterns, and the like. Driveways are sealed regularly, look better and last longer. Emulsion sealers consist of asphalt cement treated to mix with water. Once applied, the water evaporates, the material hardens, and the surface is waterproof.
For driveways on slopes, some sealers contain sharp sand that will provide added traction.
Since the liquid asphalt in blacktop needs time to harden and cure, usually 6-12 months, your driveway will remain soft and pliable until then.
You may walk on your new driveway immediately, but keep automobile traffic off it for at least 3 full days and longer in hotter temperatures. Even after the blacktop has cured, do not expect it to be as hard as concrete.
- Your new blacktop will soften and harden as temperatures rise and fall. Watering down your driveway with a hose on a hot day will cool and temporarily ha
rden the blacktop, this is helpful but not mandatory. If soap suds should appear, do not be alarmed. This is a reaction between the diesel fuel found in blacktop and a high chlorine content found in some city water. Although every effort is made to avoid puddles in your driveway, some small ones are inevitable depending on the natural slope and drainage of your ground.
- Blacktop is scarred by automobiles starting out too fast, pulling in too quickly and just plain driving too fast.
- During the first 6-12 months, while your driveway is curing, do not park in the same spot every time. Do not turn your steering wheel back and forth when your car is not moving. Leaving items such as lawn chairs, kick stands, etc., will leave depressions and create holes in your new driveway.
Special Care and Appearance
The edges are the weakest part of your driveway due to the lack of side support. Avoid driving on the edges since they will crack and crumble over time. We suggest building up the sides of your driveway with topsoil. This will support the edges and enhance the appearance after grass is grown.
Your driveway may look smoother in some areas than in others because of the makeup of blacktop. Blacktop has various sizes of stone, sand, liquid asphalt, and other ingredients which cause varied texture of the surface. Also, blacktop areas that have been raked and spread with hand tools may appear different in texture from those spread by machine.
What to avoid with your new driveway
Avoid gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, power steering and transmission fluid spills and leaks. These will dilute the liquid asphalt in your blacktop.
Any hairline cracks that may have developed over the winter due to contraction and expansion of the ground should be filled with crack filler.