The time to start caring for your driveway is the day it is installed. Many of us inherit our driveways from previous homeowners, so this isn’t always an option. However, if you are resurfacing your old driveway or having a new one laid, now is the time to think how you can keep it looking like new. Here are a few driveway care tips from our Maryland driveway installation experts.
Give it Time to Harden
Asphalt is typically laid as a hot mix and takes some time to harden to its normal consistency. It may depend on the weather and time of year, but it’s usually recommended to give it at least 24 hours to cure before using your new driveway. Your Maryland asphalt paving team will let you know how long you may need to wait. Follow these instructions closely, as the longevity and appearance of your driveway depend on it.
Keep Shrubs and Weeds in Check
It’s good to plant grass along the edges of your driveway, but you should avoid planting large shrubs or trees that are expected to grow tall. While grass will help prevent soil erosion and will add support to your new pavement, plants with invasive root systems will do exactly the opposite. Large roots can cause your driveway to crack and become uneven, so watch for plants that may pose such danger.
Vary Your Parking Spaces
If the size of your driveway allows it, try not to park in the same spot every time. This may cause permanent depressions in your driveway, especially if it’s a freshly installed one. The same goes for any vehicles or trailers that you keep parked and rarely use. If possible, keep them off the driveway, and if not, try to move them from place to place. This will help ensure even weight distribution and prevent parts of your driveway from sagging.
Keep it Clean
No, we are not suggesting to put your driveway on your weekly cleaning list. However, it doesn’t hurt to sweep it and maybe hose it down every once in a while. This helps remove debris, such as small pebbles, twigs, broken glass, etc. When you run over this debris with the wheels of your car, you create friction and abrasion that may eventually lead to cracks in the surface.
Keep Sprinklers Pointed Away
While it’s OK to wash your driveway with a hose or get it wet during the rain, you shouldn’t subject it to moisture more than necessary. If you use sprinklers to water your lawn, make sure they are pointed away from the driveway. During hot weather, water can contribute to the surface of the asphalt drying out as the liquid evaporates. This may eventually cause the asphalt binder to lose its binding properties and produce cracks and potholes. If getting water on your driveway is unavoidable, consider getting your driveway protected with sealcoating.
Your driving habits also affect how long your driveway will last. For example, if you tend to turn your wheels while the car is not moving, you risk scratching the asphalt and speeding up its deterioration. One time won’t do much damage, but if you do it over and over in the same spot, you will soon see lacerations. Similarly, try not to go over the edge of your driveway with your car. The weight of your vehicle may cause the edge to flatten and start crumbling away.
A driveway serves a rather straightforward purpose: it gives you a smooth and level surface to park your car. With a driveway you don’t get your shoes dirty as you walk to the house, and the space in front of your home doesn’t turn into a mud pit every time it rains. While these are some nice features, most of us don’t really appreciate our driveways. But remember that maintaining a beautiful driveway is easier than you think. Just follow the above recommendations and sealcoat your driveway once or twice a year as needed!