Our Tips for Driveway Maintenance

Asphalt driveways are one of the most cost-effective and long-lasting surfacing materials on the market, but after a considerable amount of time, the surface will begin to show signs of wear and tear. Usually, a high-quality asphalt driveway installation will last upwards of 15 to 20 years before requiring frequent repairs or in some cases, a full driveway resurface or replacement of certain areas. Even this impressive time period could be extended with the correct driveway maintenance.

This article shares some of the tactics we recommend to ensure your asphalt driveway lifespan is as long as possible.

 

What Causes Asphalt Driveways to Deteriorate?

Several factors contribute to the deterioration of asphalt driveways over time including exposure to the elements, the use of the driveway, and it’s age. Here, we take you through a comprehensive list of the ways you’re driveway can deteriorate to help you understand how to better care and maintain it going forward and to provide some context for our top 3 tips.

 

Poor Installation

If your Perth asphalt driveway was poorly installed and driveway maintenance wasn’t performed, the asphalt lifespan will be reduced. In time and after frequent use, you may notice cracks and potholes forming in some places due to tree roots, movement in the subgrade and clay type ground underneath the driveway to name a few. This is normal but can occur more frequently or at a faster pace when the asphalt driveway installation was not done carefully with the correct expertise.

 

Age and frequent use

Over time you’re asphalt driveway becomes more susceptible to damage from various sources as it becomes slowly worn down. The constant exposure to sunlight, oxidation, and temperature changes all impact the durability of your driveway.

If you have a commercial asphalt driveway, or an asphalt car park, the heavy coming and going from traffic can also more quickly erode at surfaces. Heavy vehicle traffic, especially from larger vehicles like trucks and RVs, can lead to surface damage and structural issues.

Older driveways that experience high levels of traffic are more likely to require repairs or replacement sooner than newer, less frequently used surfaces.

 

Tree Roots and Vegetation

Tree roots may also grow to eventually create cracks in an asphalt driveway, but the damage caused is less compared to concrete, as the asphalt will lift as a ‘bump’ rather than concrete which raises with a sharp raised edge.

For those with a large residential or commercial driveway in a semi-rural area, it is especially crucial to consider this factor when assessing your driveway damage as these areas can have areas of high vegetation and tree growth.

 

Staining

The other common issue with any type of asphalt foundation involves staining, which often appears as dark shadows. Oil and grease are the two leading culprits, with mulch and decaying plants or leaves the other likely causes.

An up close image of cracked driveway which is in need of asphalt resurfacing

A CRACKED ASPHALT SURFACE WHICH REQUIRES ASPHALT RESURFACING.

 

How to Maintain Your Asphalt Driveway

Maintaining your asphalt driveway is essential to ensuring its longevity, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. Proper maintenance of your asphalt driveway helps you save money in the long run and enhances the appeal of your residential or commercial property as well as it’s safety. Providing a smooth surface for vehicles and pedestrians is an important part of the benefits from asphalt driveway maintenance.

By implementing regular maintenance routine, you can work to prevent common issues such as cracks, potholes, and surface deterioration, which can be costly to repair if left unchecked. Asphalt driveways are known for their durability and cost-effectiveness, making them a popular choice among homeowners and businesses alike. With proper care and attention, your asphalt driveway can withstand the test of time.

 

Routine Driveway Cleaning

Grime, dirt, leaves and mulch may build up on the surface, causing stains and shortening the asphalt driveway lifespan. If you sweep, blow or brush these off sooner rather than later, the stains will be reduced. Sweeping after a storm or heavy rain is even more important as the water may infuse with the unwanted elements and exacerbate stains.

Keeping on top of driveway maintenance will boost the lifespan and put off asphalt resurfacing for as long as possible.

 

Remove Stains

Should the stains be ingrained into your asphalt driveway, it’s best practice to scrub them off with a hand brush and cleaning chemicals. See below for some ways to do this depending on the source of the stain. Never use a petroleum solvent material (e.g., kerosene, turpentine, petrol, diesel or degreaser) as this will damage the asphalt.

Note: Make sure to use protective equipment (gloves, eye protection, and mask) when working with chemicals and wash your hands afterwards.

How to remove natural stains caused by mulch or plant matter:

  1. First, lightly rinse the area – but avoid a high-powered hose as this may push the stain deeper into the asphalt or dislodge particles in the surface.
  2. Using a brush, scrub vinegar or some soap into the stained surface using a circular motion.
  3. If this doesn’t clear the stain, try mixing bleach with water, and scrub this into the area. Once the entire stain is covered, leave it for half an hour.
  4. Whichever method you used, wash away the solution with a low-pressure hose.

How to remove grease and oil stains:

As solvents dissolve into the bitumen component of the asphalt, this type of stain may not be successfully removed.

  1. If grease or oil is present, absorb as much as possible using a paper towel, clean sand or kitty litter.
  2. Treat the stain by very lightly scrubbing a solvent-free degreaser into the stain with a brush (follow the instructions on the bottle). See note regarding solvents in the previous text. Or,
  3. Create a paste by mixing Tri-Sodium Phosphate with water (as per the directions on the product), before scrubbing the stain using a brush and the TSP paste. Leave it to sit for half an hour. Try a small area initially to test if the result is to your expectations.
  4. Rinse the chemicals off with low pressure water spray.
A long asphalt driveway freshly laid for residential or commercial use in Perth by NK Asphalt

A FRESHLY LAID RED ASPHALT DRIVEWAY IN PERTH BY NK ASPHALT.

 

What to Do When You Get Potholes or Damages

Potholes in your asphalt driveway are the first issue you should be resolving. Additional weight passing over damaged driveways can damage the surface more, reducing the driveway lifespan. In this instance, try not to drive over the area until after repairs are made.

Usually, an older cracked asphalt driveway will still last many years if the cracks are kept clear of weeds. They can also be repaired with a crack filling solution, but the damage will likely reappear if there’s an underlying issue.

If the asphalt driveway is damaged in multiple spots, and driveway maintenance is needed frequently, the best solution is often asphalt resurfacing. If resurfaced at a timely period, the need for full removal and replacement that would be needed on a concrete drive, will not be required for an asphalt drive.

 

Too Much Work?

If your asphalt driveway in Perth is old and has run its course, it may be time to consider resurfacing. In some cases, the cause of damage may lie beneath the surface, with the sub-base or foundation. The old surface may have simply worn out under traffic and can easily be resurfaced.

If a replacement or asphalt resurfacing is needed, NK Asphalt are one of the most experienced Perth asphalt contractors. Contact one of our specialists to learn about asphalt repairs or ask us for a free measure & quote.

 

Get a Perth Asphalt Resurfacing Quote

For a free measure and quote on large asphalt projects, more than 150mand to larger areas, contact us today.

Paul Calnon
Director

Paul is a Director of NK Asphalt and has over thirty years of experience in the asphalt and bitumen industry since joining NK Asphalt in 1994. He’s an expert in all aspects of asphalt works - and can give advice on baseworks, kerbing and other site services. He is dedicated to providing the right solution for clients - and can give great advice on the pro’s and cons of different methods clients may be considering.