Avoid expensive bitumen driveway repair bills by protecting your driveways with these handy tips.
Bitumen driveways are more durable and weather-resistant than concrete or paved driveways, but they are still susceptible to cracking and damage. To know how to protect your asphalt driveway, first, we need to know what can cause the damage.
There are several factors that can cause your driveway to crack and break apart and once this starts to happen you need to act quickly to prevent further damage. Or even better, if you can identify future causes of damage you can start protecting your driveway now..
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What Causes Bitumen Driveway Damage?
Bitumen driveway cracking is either caused by wear and tear on the surface of the driveway or from issues below the top layer.
Damage From on Top of the Bitumen Driveway
The surface of your bitumen driveway takes all the wear and tear from vehicles and the elements. An excess of moisture or weight can lead to erosion and loosening of the surface.
Too Much Moisture
The pooling of moisture on the surface of your bitumen driveway can lead to water infiltrating the bitumen and separating the composite, leading to chipping and cracking.
Depending on the thickness of the driveway, your bitumen driveway may crack under excessive weight. Usual car traffic shouldn’t cause damage, but the weight of trucks and construction vehicles can overload asphalt, especially if they are parked on your driveway.
Damage From Below the AsphaltDriveway
Issues below the surface of your bitumen driveway can be hard to detect until you start to see the damage, and some of the problems may be out of your control.
Too much or not enough moisture in the soil below your asphaltdriveway can lead to a change in the shape of the soil. This can cause the bitumen to be either unsupported or pushed up, resulting in cracking.
Trees roots growing under your bitumen driveway can cause cracks by pushing the driveway up and causing it to expand beyond its limits. You’ll also see bumps and dips start to form in your driveway that can lead to water pooling.
The natural expansion and contraction of the soil caused by seasonal changes or degradation from another source can cause the soil beneath your asphalt driveway to shift, meaning that your driveway needs to shift with it. While bitumen driveways have some flexibility to move, a constant shift or a severe one can cause bitumen cracking.
If the soil beneath your asphalt driveway is not correctly flattened and compacted before the asphalt is poured, your bitumen driveway will quickly start to crack as it struggles to cope with the shifting soil.
How to Prevent Bitumen Driveway Damage
Now that you understand the causes of asphalt driveway damage, you can start to prevent them from happening.
Unless your driveway is capable of carrying heavy-duty vehicles, avoid using your bitumen driveway as an access point. If nothing can be done to avoid trucks using your driveway, try to reduce the frequency of use or parking a heavy vehicle on your driveway.
Provide Good Drainage
Install proper drainage from your asphalt driveway to reduce the amount of water pooling on the surface and seeping into the soil.
Regularly clean and sweep your driveway to remove debris, dirt and moisture that can cause chipping and cracks.
How to Repair Bitumen Driveway Damage
If you already have damage to your driveway and need bitumen driveway repairs, first you’ll need to evaluate how extensive the damage is.
Minimal Bitumen Cracking
If you’ve identified a few small cracks in your asphalt driveway, you may be able to fill the cracks with a driveway crack filter available from a hardware store. If you’re doing this make sure to follow the instructions that come with the product and we recommend applying a sealing coating after the crack filler has set.
Partial Bitumen Cracking
If your asphalt driveway has extensive cracking but just in isolated sections, you may be able to have the severely affected sections cut out and replaced, rather than getting your driveway completely reconstructed. Speak to a bitumen driveway contractor to get professional advice on your situation.
Severe Bitumen Cracking
If your driveway has cracks throughout the majority of the bitumen, you may need to completely remove and reconstruct the driveway. This will allow the bitumen driveway professionals to inspect under the surface of the driveway to find the cause of the damage and address it.
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