Paving your driveway with asphalt is a solid investment into the quality and value of your home, but it's important to understand how to maintain this new addition. Brand-new asphalt is actually vulnerable to damage if you treat it carelessly, and problems that arise now may grow even worse in years to come. In order to safeguard your investment and prevent a headache in the future, here are a few tips for dealing with new driveways.
Be Mindful of the Temperature
All asphalt is susceptible to changes when subjected to extreme temperatures, and fresh asphalt is especially vulnerable to softening in the heat. This doesn't change until the pavement is finished curing, usually 6 to 9 months after it was poured. You can drive on the asphalt 24 hours after is has been laid, but be cautious, especially on hot days, because your asphalt may still be soft and prone to imprints. If you do make a few marks in the asphalt, it's likely that they will be smoothed out over time by the heat of the sun.
Don't Peel Out
Because of the aforementioned curing process, new asphalt is also easier to damage if you don't drive over it carefully. Speeding out of or into your driveway can put undue strain on it, causing cracks or indentations to form. This can also happen if you brake suddenly. To keep your driveway in good shape, do your best to drive over it slowly and at a steady speed. That way, you can avoid damaging it with sudden force. Try not to turn your wheels too quickly, and never turn them when the car is sitting still.
Be Careful Where You Drive and Park
During the curing period, the edges of your drive will be especially brittle. If you drive over them, the weight of the car may be enough to cause them to crack or bend. Going over them repeatedly will only increase the chance of damage, as will parking your car on the side of your drive. It's also important not to park in the exact same place every day, if you can avoid it. Over time, the pressure from your car's tires can cause depressions in the asphalt if they always come to rest in the same spot.
Put Nothing on Your Driveway But Your Car
Tires are flat and wide enough that they can distribute the weight of your car evenly on the asphalt, but not all items share this property. Some things you might be temped to put on your new driveway can actually cause damage during the first few months because they are either too heavy or too narrow to appropriately distribute weight.
For example, high heels are so thin that their points can leave gouges, especially on a hot day. Chairs can be similarly damaging. In general, you should do your best to avoid leaving anything on your drive way for prolonged periods of time, except for your car. This is especially critical on hot days when the pavement will be at its most pliable.
If you intend to make further changes and additions to your home, don't allow construction equipment or materials to take up space on your driveway. Overweight vehicles can cause the pavement to sag or crack, while tools or materials may gash the surface with their irregular edges.
For more tips on how to avoid damaging the new pavement and ways to add longevity to the life of your driveway, be sure to ask your contractor, or find one through a website like http://www.lakeridgepaving.com. With enough care and consideration, you can ensure that the asphalt cures perfectly, free from dents or cracks.
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