Lifespan of an asphalt driveway: the long and short of it
Asphalt driveways can last 15 to 30 years, though this depends on a lot of factors.
Deciding on a driveway can be a tough decision, but when you compare asphalt and concrete, there are some clear benefits to choosing asphalt driveways. Unlike concrete, asphalt driveways are easier to install and drain water more effectively. This should be your choice if you live in a climate where it rains often. An asphalt driveway can also increase the value of your home. Sure, hiring a pro to pour asphalt can be expensive – reaching anywhere from $4,750 + on average, but these driveways will last 15-30 years!
What impacts the lifespan of an asphalt driveway?
When you’re seeking a professional contractor to help with your asphalt projects, there are many factors to consider. These factors all have an impact on the lifespan of the asphalt.
Though easier to install than concrete, laying down an asphalt driveway is not without risk. However, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the higher level of difficulty. A competent contractor will have to design the driveway and prepare the foundation to minimize cracking. To avoid any issues in years to come our experts at Jireh Construction manually rake the area before laying down a leveled and properly graded surface. We go the extra mile to create a great experience for our customers, and we never cut corners. We will work with you for years to come.
Extreme weather conditions
Our experts at Jireh Construction also know that if you live in an area where you experience extreme weather conditions like very cold winter months, the driveway is susceptible to cracks but not to worry. Our solution is to use hot-mix asphalt, which does a pretty good job resisting cracks caused by the freeze thaw cycle. This mix should be used on small cracks to avoid becoming big ones during cold winter months to avoid costly repairs later on.
Type of usage and thickness
Your average residential asphalt driveway is typically 3 inches thick, but that’s not always enough for heavier vehicles like campers, trailers, or trucks. If your home’s driveway needs to withstand the weight of these higher-sized vehicles on occasion, it should be 4-5 inches thick. This will provide a durable surface and significantly extend the life of your asphalt.
When our experts come out for initial consultation we will discuss with you your requirements and suggest the best thickness for your driveway.
Tips to improve the longevity of asphalt driveways
You probably don’t want your asphalt driveway to last only 15 years, which is why you can be proactive and take steps to make it last 30. Here are some that may help.
Let the Driveway Dry and Cure
Wait three days (72 hours) after a fresh asphalt driveway is poured before any cars are driven or parked on it. Wait five days to walk on a freshly paved driveway, and then use caution when you do. An asphalt driveway can take 30 days and up to one year to harden and cure – so wait until the pavement has fully hardened before you park large vehicles on it. Watch out for problems with gas or coolant leaks during this time because they could both damage your newly paved driveway.
Seal it Up
Asphalt is naturally porous, so it needs a coat of sealant six to 12 months after the initial installation. If Sealed too soon it can cause permanent damage to the pavement, so contact a sealant professional to ensure the asphalt is hard enough to absorb the seal. A high-grade sealant will protect your driveway from moisture, gasoline, grease, oil, road salts, anti-freeze, and many more potentially dangerous substances.
One can apply sealant on their own, but make sure the temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit before laying down a coat of the sealant. One should also check the weather for a forecast of clear skies for three days after applying the sealant. Precipitation and frigid temperatures could endanger the seal coat. Repeat this process every two to three years.
Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance
We cannot stress this enough. You must properly maintain your asphalt driveway to ensure you squeeze the most time out of it. Make a habit of cleaning the driveway and inspecting it for cracks and other irregularities. If you spot a crack, call us immediately to patch it up before it becomes a bigger issue.
You may also want to trim trees and remove roots that are running toward your driveway, as these roots can crawl underneath the foundation and wreak havoc.
Finally, spray the asphalt with cold water on hot days to minimize heat-induced cracks.
Call the asphalt experts at Jireh Construction for all of your asphalt needs.