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, plus, we include steps to take if repairs are needed.
Notable advantages of asphalt driveways
The durability and economical properties of asphalt in a Perth driveway project cannot be overlooked. It’s possible to install asphalt in less time and at a reduced cost compared to other popular materials such as concrete.
Additionally, asphalt may be less prone to cracking, and won’t flake or lift in jagged edged pieces like concrete. For some other benefits of asphalt, see this previous article.
What causes asphalt driveways to deteriorate?
If your driveway in Perth 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 and can occur in a variety of pavement types. If these openings appear, the risk of water and other natural elements penetrating the asphalt is higher.
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 with a sharp raised edge.
The other common issue with any type of drive 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.
So, what can you do to repair and put off these offenders?
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 and / 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.
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, degreaser etc) 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:
- 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.
- Using a brush, scrub vinegar or some soap into the stained surface using a circular motion.
- 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.
- 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.
- If grease or oil is present, absorb as much as possible using paper towel, clean washed sand or kitty litter.
- 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,
- 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.
- Rinse the chemicals off with low pressure water spray.
Patch cracks and potholes
Potholes in your asphalt driveway are the first issue you should be resolving, as additional weight passing over them can damage the surface more, reducing the driveway lifespan. 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, etc or can be repaired with a crack filling solution, but the damage may be recurring if there’s an underlying issue with the sub-base or trees in the vicinity.
This previous article classifies the most common cracks and suggests the required repairs.
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, there are only so many repairs that can be made. 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 and well-respected Perth companies who can make it happen.
As a family-owned and operated business, we take great pride in our projects and our many residential and commercial clients.
For a free measure and quote on large asphalt projects, more than 150m2 and to larger areas, contact us today.