With proper installation, care, and maintenance, asphalt pavement can last for decades. Unfortunately, only a few driveways and parking lots actually do. By making simple mistakes during the initial stages of installation and by ignoring straightforward maintenance tips, property owners face expensive replacement much earlier than they expect.
With the cost of an asphalt pavement reaching as much as $15 per square foot, the concern for its longevity is always on the agenda. Let’s take a closer look at how you can build your asphalt’s integrity without incurring sizable repaving expenses.
Choose a Quality Base
While asphalt quality is very important to the lifespan of your driveway or parking lot, what you put underneath matters just as much. If you choose a firm base, your asphalt paving can become as strong as concrete.
Many paving contractors recommend about six inches of the base. Consider going for at least eight. It can be a gavel base or extra inches of asphalt. Whatever you choose, a well-chosen base depth can help:
- Provide good support for the asphalt pavement when temperatures fluctuate.
- Prevent water that seeps through the top layer from cracking the entire pavement·
- Create proper water drainage
According to the experts from CSG Sealcoating, Jacksonville, a high-quality base is the pillar of your asphalt’s integrity.
Apply a Sealcoat
Sealcoating is an integral part of paving asphalt surfaces. While asphalt is a durable material, it’s prone to weather changes and moisture. To keep cracks and potholes from forming, it’s important to apply a protective layer.
Asphalt sealcoating can increase your asphalt’s lifespan by:
- Keeping water from seeping through the surface and damaging the pavement from the inside.
- Prevents oil and chemicals from damaging the asphalt pavement.
- Keeps harmful UV rays from affecting the binder and causing cracks.
Besides serving as a high-quality protective layer, a sealcoat also improves your asphalt’s appearance. It makes the pavement look as black and shiny as it did right after paving.
Depending on the traffic your asphalt pavement endures and the climate you live it, consider sealcoating your driveway or parking lot once every one to three years.
Use High-Quality Equipment
While many property owners believe that DIY driveways and parking lots last just as long as professionally-paved surfaces, they are often wrong. To pave an asphalt property, you need to use high-quality equipment.
- Milling machines
- Dump trucks
When wielded by professionals, the process may seem smooth. However, without experience, working with this equipment can be complicated. Even if you manage to rent all the above machines, you need an expert to ensure proper results.
If you want the asphalt pavement to last as long as possible, take the time to choose experienced paving contractors. Besides getting the job done quicker, they can provide useful recommendations about the pavement’s maintenance.
Allow the Asphalt to Cure
The brand new driveway or parking lot may seem solid and ready to go right after the paving team is done with it. However, the new material needs time to cure. The full process takes about 3 to 6 months. Thankfully, you can start using the new pavement much earlier.
While you may have heard that some property owners start using their asphalt pavement within 24 to 48 hours, that’s not always the case. Ideally, you should allow the surface about seven days to cure before driving over it.
Try to stay off the asphalt for at least three days after contactors are done with it. The longer you leave it to cure properly, the less likely it is to crack. If you are paving in asphalt in less-than-ideal weather conditions, it may take longer to cure.
Ask contractors for their advice about the curing timeline.
If you want the asphalt to serve you for many years, don’t rush paving your driveway or parking lot. Take a step back and listen to professional recommendations. The asphalt’s integrity depends on the decisions you make during installation and maintenance.
Make sure to invest in a solid base, a sealcoat, and high-quality equipment. Allow the asphalt to cure before using it. Otherwise, you may incur unexpected repair or, worse, repaving expenses.