As most people realize, when guests and visitors drive up to your home, one of the first things they’ll notice is the condition of your driveway. If you have multiple cracks with grass and weeds growing through them, it sets a certain tone for how they expect your home to be as well. Large oil stains (check out these tips on cleaning those up), a car up on jacks, and some fast food wrappers starting to bleach out in the sun are also signs of neglect that might get your friends a little worried if they are going to eat at your barbecue.
There are some things you can do, in addition to just plain cleaning up, that can help your asphalt driveway stay new and avoid costly replacement almost forever. Here are some great tips on cleaning, maintaining, and repairing your driveway for the long-term as suggested long ago by our favorite asphalt paving company.
Don’t Let The Weeds Take Over
It will start with a small crack in the asphalt usually and pretty soon it’s filled up with dirt and debris that has washed there in recent storms. Then, pretty soon you’ll see some weeds, either grass or some tough, woody stemmed, weeds that are impossible to pull up. As they grow, their roots spread the crack ever wider and they also collect more dirt so that more weeds grow and soon you have a regular garden of weeds in the middle of your driveway.
Obviously, the best thing to do was to never let the crack form in the first place but once it’s there, you need to take fast action before it gets worse. Take some strong weed killer and soak the weeds real well and wait for them to die. Make sure you use a weed killer that has systemic action to kill the roots at the same time. Once they’re gone, pull out every bit of the weed and remove as much of the dirt as possible with a strong water spray.
Once completely dry, get some asphalt driveway repair cement and follow the instructions to apply it. It should be fairly thick with some grit to it and be able to fill in the crack deeply and all the way to the surface too. While that crack is drying, search your entire driveway for other smaller cracks and fill those in too. Be thorough, you’re now doing preventative maintenance and you want to stop any and all cracks from deepening in the future.
One of the problems with cracks is that during freezing weather, water seeps into the cracks and then freezes. When water freezes, it expands and causes the crack to widen with each freeze and re-thaw. That’s why you’ll notice all of your driveway cracks get noticeably larger in just one winter.
Once Repairs Are Done It’s Time For The Sealant
These products are usually better than even the original asphalt when it comes to most driveways. They are made using an advanced technology/product that includes a hazardous combination of chemicals that will bond with your driveway and seal out all of the water, thus preventing problems with ice and weeds in the future, but can also be a health concern.
If your driveway has been neglected for some time, there will be other prep work involved. Oil spots will have to be deep cleaned and possibly primed for best results. If your driveway is dirty, it will have to be pressure washed to get rid of all the dirt and even dust. If there are weeds all around the edges, those will have to be cut back so the technicians can sealcoat all around the edges for a high quality, long lasing job.
After you’ve had your asphalt sealcoating done once, you can have it done every few years with almost no preparation work at all. That is much cheaper and it will prolong the life of your driveway almost indefinitely since you are replacing and protecting the original tar with a higher quality product that seals better and lasts longer at the same time.