As a homeowner you know how important it is to maintain your property. Driveway maintenance is one of those chores that if not kept up with can lead to a costly driveway replacement. To give you an idea of how much you save, check Home Advisor‘s cost guides Repair vs. Replace. Further, the results of some road studies show that a dollar spent in maintenance will prevent spending $6 to $14 on reconstruction. Asphalt repair for a road or a driveway is the same thing, just scaled down, so those dollar amounts apply to you, too!
Summer’s UV rays fade your blacktop and damage the surface. It’s also the perfect time to clean, repair, and reseal. There are just 5 basics to understand and you’ll be all set to look after your own do it yourself driveway maintenance.
1. Clean And Assess
Cleaning is the first step, for two reasons. First, it lets you see exactly what shape your driveway is in, and secondly, it makes for successful asphalt repair. Scrub, spray, or sweep the entire surface. If there are any fuel stains, use a degreaser to remove them. It’s important to use one specifically made for asphalt to keep from causing more damage. Remove any weeds or plants that are coming up from cracks and be sure to clear around the edges, too.
2. Make Your Driveway Maintenance Repairs
This is the time to fill any cracks or potholes. There is a wide variety of crack fillers and asphalt patch products that are perfectly suited to a homeowner’s needs, and without the need of renting heavy equipment. Read the directions in the store, so you’ll know what else you need to complete the work. For cracks deeper than a half inch, you’ll typically need a sand and gravel mix to top it up. Before you start asphalt repair do not forget to!
A. Stake Off the Work
Crack and pothole repair as well as driveway sealing all need time to cure, which means keeping traffic off. Use stakes and caution tape to mark the end of the driveway. Don’t forget to block access by the sidewalk as well. Think about the people who walk in your yard, and clearly mark the area as off limits. Not only will this protect your driveway maintenance work, it will save shoes from becoming covered in black asphalt and tracking it everywhere. If you have pets make sure to keep them away, as they are unlikely to notice the caution tape.
B. Mask Off The Borders & Prep
This is much the same as for painting. Protect the walkways, walls, garage, etc, with tape and cardboard. It’s far easier to spend your time masking off the borders than it is trying to remove driveway sealer after. This may seem obvious, but if you need anything from the garage between now and when the curing is finished, get it out now.
3. Sealcoating: The Final Step In Driveway Maintenance
Driveway sealing is recommended every 2 years. This gives you the best protection from the sun’s harmful rays and other weather damage. Use a high-quality product, preferably one that is labelled “airport grade” for the best results. Use a roller or a squeegee and start at the top of your driveway and work your way down. Spread it evenly, and thinly, and don’t get stuck in a corner you can’t get out of. Remember that two thin coats offer better results; they dry better and that gives better adhesion. Thick applications have a tendency to bubble up and peel off.
Upkeep of your property truly does save you money in the long run. Spending that dollar on driveway maintenance now will save you the cost of driveway replacement and reconstruction for years to come.
Judson Burdon is the owner and operator of Asphalt Kingdom, a site where homeowners can get driveway maintenance advice, how-to guides, and the asphalt sealcoating equipment and supplies they need to maintain their asphalt themselves.
For more from us on the topic of Asphalt Driveways, see our article – The Benefits of Asphalt Driveways. Two of which are of course cost and maintainability. Cheers. ~jb