Asphalt is an ideal choice, and offers more flexibility and resilience than concrete does when it comes to withstanding Minnesota’s four seasons. While we can’t control the weather, there are definitely other variables you can control when it comes to maintaining your asphalt driveway, starting with the contractor you choose. An experienced, knowledgeable contractor is a must, no matter what you need done.
After installation, the first 14 days are crucial. There are important guidelines to abide in ensuring a quality finished product.
- You must not drive on the asphalt for at least 3-5 days.
- Do not park on the asphalt for at least 2 weeks, and when you do start parking it, ensure it’s a cooler part of the day.
Next, there is a 90 to 120 day curing phase. Special consideration for the first season of your asphalt driveway is key.
- Don’t park your car on the asphalt during the hottest times of the day.
- Don’t turn the driver wheel when parked on the asphalt.
- Keep motorcycle and bicycle stands, boat jacks or any other sharp objects off the surface.
- For vehicles parked for a long period of time, lay some plywood down to prevent them from sinking into your asphalt driveway. (Although the best solution here is to not park any heavy vehicles on the asphalt, especially in the first season. Of course, this isn’t always possible.)
*Keep in mind, if you have your asphalt installed in the fall, the curing process will stop when it freezes and continue in the spring time.
Of course, once your driveway is cured, you can use it normally. However, to ensure your asphalt looking nice and making it last it’s full lifetime, these are a few things you can do.
- Preventing oil and gasoline spills is a big one. Because asphalt is an oil-based substance, these two liquids will make that area start to deteriorate and weaken that particular spot on your driveway. Cleaning up any spills with an absorbent material, will reduce the damage done.
- The freeze/thaw cycle or movement in the subsoil can result in cracking. You can also get cracking from water seepage from gutters, a large amount of precipitation and even over-watering your lawn can cause this. In Minnesota, however, the asphalt will eventually crack. Filling these cracks, which you can do yourself with supplies from your local hardware store, and keeping it seal coated will ensure your asphalts longevity.
- Because asphalt driveways do not have any support of its edges, these must be protected. Avoid driving on the edges, which can promote cracking and crumble. Building up the soil along the edges can help too.
- After mowing, you should sweep off grass clippings. If left on your asphalt, seeds will get in cracks and crevices and promote weed growth. Using a weed killer for existing weeds can remedy the situation too. Vegetation also can grow through your asphalt. This can be very problematic with tree roots, etc.
- Sealcoating is probably one of the most important agent to ensure the asphalts life. This seals in existing oils and keeps the asphalts flexibility. In our climate, flexibility is key.