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5 Signs Your Driveway Has Suffered Weather Damage

Driveway with crack
You might have heard that your asphalt driveway can sustain damage from the sun, rain, and winter weather. But how will you know if this has happened? You can minimize or prevent some types of weather damage by keeping your driveway well-maintained, but you should still keep an eagle eye out for any signs of trouble. 

Here are five signs your driveway has fallen victim to weather damage.

1. Cracks

Although stress or incorrect construction can result in cracks in your driveway, exposure to the elements is one of the main causes for this damage. Cracks can result from water sitting on the pavement too long, from pavement settling due to water eroding the underlayers it rests on, or from water getting into little crannies and freezing there.

Fortunately, if you find the cracks early, a professional can reliably repair cracks. Be sure to discuss with your asphalt contractor whether you have an underlying cause for the cracks that needs attention as well.

2. Raveling

This term means that bits come off your driveway. The binding material that holds your asphalt pavement together is a tarry substance that starts out black and sticky. But over time, it can become brittle and dried out due to damage from the sunlight (UV rays degrade its texture until it can't hold the pavement together anymore).

3. Different Color

As mentioned above, the pavement starts out dark in color, with a deep blackish (or very dark gray) binding material. When the binding material begins to deteriorate and fade, you know that means the sun has worked away at it long enough to have some impact. 

Just because the pavement lightens, though, doesn't necessarily mean your driveway needs repairs. It probably just needs a new layer over the top, applied by a process called sealcoating.

4. Buckling and Unevenness

Frost heave is another force of weather that's more commonly a problem in the northern states. Frost heave can cause the ground to become uneven and can push up on pavement from underneath until it starts to buckle upward.

You can take these steps to reduce the likelihood of damage from frost heave, but most of them are things you do before you put the driveway in. Talk to your contractor to see about possibilities for preventing or reducing frost heave damage to an existing driveway.

5. Sunken Spots

If one end of your driveway seems to be sunken in, this could be from water eroding the underlayment. This is especially likely to happen near a structure where gutters and downspouts pour extra quantities of water nearby. Sunken spots can encourage further deterioration from the elements because water is likely to pool there and erode the asphalt's surface.

Divert the water away from the driveway to help reduce the erosion effect. If the erosion is too pronounced, you may need to have that driveway section repaired.

These five signs will help you both detect weather damage in progress and make an educated guess about what could be the origin of the damage. Be sure to contact an experienced, reputable contractor to help you sealcoat the driveway and perform any other repairs and maintenance tasks you need.

If you're in the area of St. Louis, MO, then Metro Paving Company, Inc., will be happy to help you care for your asphalt driveway knowledgeably. Get in touch today to let us know what driveway services you need.

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