Asphalt is a compelling choice when it comes to driveways due to its long life and affordable cost of installation. Driveways are some of the most visible features of a home that not only gives an impression of your home and way of life but also sets the overall tone about the upkeep and condition of your house.
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Blacktop Asphalt Driveways are built by mixing stones and sand to form an aggregate which is in turn mixed with liquid asphalt ( a petroleum product). Before mixing the aggregates with the asphalt, The Asphalt is usually pre liquefied at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This mixture is then placed atop a prepared base or subgrade that we can safely call the foundation. The mixture then cools and hardens forming a black driveway that can be used for driving and parking usually 24 hours after the installation is completed.
Today, we look at the types of damage that asphalt suffers and how to go about fixing the same but before that, let us look at the advantages asphalt offers over other options such as concrete. This is to reassure you that you made an excellent choice when installing an asphalt driveway.
Advantages of Asphalt Driveways
Strong and Durable
If Properly installed and well maintained, these driveways can handle heavy traffic and last between 25 and 50 years.
Elements and Weather Resistance
Asphalt driveways are durable even in cold states and winter does not affect the structure of Asphalt driveways. Unlike concrete that requires frequent salt treatment in winter, our choice driveway is kind of easy on the owner with these costs.
It is Versatile
During installation, you can opt to have porous asphalt that allows water to drain through the blacktop into a subgrade reservoir. It can be ideal for flood-prone states such as New Orleans and Florida.
Cost Effective and Affordable
If you are looking at costs and longevity, Asphalt is the way to go as it gives you the lifespan of concrete at a fraction of the cost.
Asphalt Damage Types and Repair
As this product is made with durability and longevity in mind, ultimately it will suffer one form of damage or the other due to various factors. Daily traffic of at least 2 tons of vehicle, occasional heavy trucks, and age will require some form of damage control and maintenance.
- Small Cracks
These cosmetic cracks are less than 1/4 inch wide and deep and do not indicate deeper underlying problems with the structure of the driveway. If you decide to do the repairs yourself, you can expect to spend between USD 2.20 – USD 5.0 per square foot.
- Sweep the driveway with a stiff brush removing all debris and dirt.
- Vaccum up to clear any remaining debris from our repair site.
- Clean the affected area with soap and water.
- Remove any engine oil spillage using special cleaning agents.
- Apply crack filler generously onto the cracks. Crack fillers can be obtained at a construction supplier near you.
- Smooth Out using a putty knife until the filler is flush with the rest of the driveway.
- Prevent vehicular and human traffic from using the driveway until the filler dries up.
Word of Caution
When doing this, protect pets, and small children by keeping them away from the site. Protect any plants by using plastic covers so that the filler does not harm them.
- Crumbling Edges
This is indicative that the contractor did a shady job by using a thin layer of Asphalt on the edges. The Remedy is to have a professional resurface the edges with 2 -4 inches of Asphalt cement.
- Alligator Cracks or Spider Web Cracks
Alligator cracks is a damning indictment on the contractor who installed the driveway as it states that this was a driveway that was simply poorly done, from the foundation to the top. I would not recommend any cosmetic repair works as this will only solve the problem for a short period. A contractor has to come on site and redo the whole driveway from scratch.
- Linear Cracks
A linear crack(s) point to the fact that weather is playing havoc with the driveway. As rainwater seeps through and the sunshine expands the crack, the problem could go deeper into the foundation if left unattended.
Hot Sealer is recommended to fill in these cracks. Do not use the convenience store sealer as this will only solve the problem for a short time before things turn for worse. Hot Sealer will permeate all the cracks and as it cools, will harden and block out any water thus solving the problem permanently.
- Sinking Parts
This can be caused by either heavy traffic such as trucks and or a weakening foundation. The foundation in this scenario may have eroded as a result of flooding or expansion and contraction caused by snow in cold and warm seasons. The repair for this involves redoing the entire part by a professional so that we do not get unsightly patch works on the driveway.
Apart from the cosmetic cracks. a professional contractor should undertake all your asphalt driveway maintenance works and it is easy to find these in your locality. A good contractor who has your welfare at heart will always point you to satisfied clients or you can also ask neighbors who have good Blacktops for a referral.
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