If taken care of properly, a good driveway can last you a couple decades before needing to be replaced – depending of course on what it is made of. Asphalt is the golden standard for most driveways, as it offers both affordability and durability at the same time. To prolong the life of any driveway, it’s important to check over it often to spot any areas in need of repair, and repair any areas you notice are damaged straight away.
How do I know whether I need to repair, resurface or replace my driveway?
Another great benefit of using asphalt for your driveway is that, unlike many other materials, it can be repaired in sections rather than replacing the entire driveway. In some instances, though, the foundation itself can become compromised, requiring the driveway to be fully replaced.
It’s important, therefore, to know what signs to look out for so that you can catch any smaller issues early on, before they get to the point of no return. These signs will help point you towards whether you need to repair, resurface or replace the driveway entirely.
One of the more obvious signs of damage are potholes. Whether large or small, these need to be repaired immediately. If they are left unattended for too long, they will continue to grow in size. If you notice multiple potholes across your driveway, then you may have to begin to think about replacing the entire driveway, as it could signal the deeper issue of a failing foundation.
Potholes can also be extremely dangerous to leave unrepaired because they can damage your vehicle, which may even lead to an accident later on.
Another way to assess what’s going on below the surface layer of your asphalt driveway, is to look out for cracks. To be more specific, small cracks that resemble that of an alligator’s scales can be a telltale sign that, unfortunately, the actual foundation itself has begun to deteriorate.
In most cases the surface layer can be easily repaired, however, when damage occurs to the foundation layer it is often a different story. To be sure, keep an eye out for these types of cracks, and ask for a professional opinion on them as soon as any have been identified.
You may also notice other cracks at some point, of which can most often be repaired and signal no issue with the actual foundation itself.
Faded areas and oil stains
Much like the sun’s UV rays can damage our skin, the same can be said for a driveway’s surface area. If you notice any areas of your driveway that seem particularly faded, you should be aware that this is an indicator that you need to get some sealcoating, and put it on that area.
This sealcoating protects the surface layer from UV rays, once again prolonging the life of your asphalt driveway. If left untreated for too long, these areas could weaken even further, leading to deeper surface damage.
Much like the faded areas of a driveway that could be considered only as cosmetic damage, oil stains from cars can eventually interact with and damage your asphalt surface layer. For this reason, you should always try your best to remove these stains as soon as they appear, or try to avoid them altogether.
When the initial asphalt laying procedure takes place, adequate draining is put in place so that water is directed away from your driveway. Water can be extremely damaging to asphalt, especially if it forms pools or floods your driveway surface.
When cracks and potholes are left unrepaired, this can cause deeper damage to your foundation, as the water can directly reach it. Once water reaches below the surface, it can get stuck there, causing even more damage.
If you do spot any pools of water forming on or around your driveway, it probably means that the right drainage was not put in place. If this is the case, you may have to replace the entire foundation and replace it with one that has the correct drainage.
Can I repair my driveway on my own, or do I need to hire a professional?
Repairing an asphalt driveway can be easy enough to do on your own – if you know what you are doing. If you feel that you have the right experience, then you shouldn’t run into any issues. If you don’t have the right skills and knowledge, you could end up spending more time and money correcting the mistakes you make thn just getting it done correctly in the first place.
On the other hand, getting someone to do the repairs for you is usually rather affordable, so hiring a professional might be the best choice overall. This way, you’ll also be able to get the best advice and tools available for the job, as well as the asphalt itself at a cheaper rate because these companies tend to buy the material in bulk, at industry standard prices.