The smooth, dark surface of a newly installed asphalt driveway is a sight that can make your home's exterior and yard look sharp and improve your property's value. And asphalt is an optimal paving choice for your home, as it has better flexibility and is less expensive than concrete, and can last up to 30 years when you take care of it properly.
But as your pavement ages from exposure to the sun and other harsh outdoor forces, it will need some regular care to keep its sleek appearance, retain its flexibility, and continue to provide a stable surface for your vehicles. Here are some recommendations to help you prepare for and see through professional asphalt installation work, then care for your asphalt after work has been completed.
Select a Time to Schedule Work
One of the first things you need to consider when planning asphalt installation of a newly paved driveway is the weather. A new asphalt driveway is installed as a hot mixture of aggregate gravel and a tar emulsion binder, which is compacted and smoothed into place. Instead of drying and curing as concrete does, the asphalt pavement needs to slowly cools to form its hardened but flexible surface.
It is recommended to pick a time for your asphalt installation when the weather is mild and dry. Spring and summer are the most optimal times for you to schedule the paving of your driveway when it is not going to rain for a few days. Rain can cause the asphalt to firm up during its installation because it will cool too quickly.
It is also not recommended to have your asphalt pavement work completed during winter, unless the temperature is forecast to be mild. The optimal temperature for asphalt work is when the temperature is at 70 degrees Fahrenheit so the asphalt can cool slowly.
Talk to your paving professional if you are expecting lower temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler temperatures will mean the asphalt mix the paving crew is pouring will cool more quickly, necessitating a faster installation. However, they can work with you on your paving needs to make sure your pavement is completed in a timely manner.
Follow-Up with Proper Care and Maintenance
Your new driveway will look great and be ready for use almost immediately, but resist the urge to drive your vehicle upon its surface just yet. Over the next two to three days the newly poured asphalt will harden, so try to keep your vehicles off its surface. The weight of your vehicle could dent and scuff up the surface of the asphalt, especially if you were to turn the wheels sharply.
After two to three days you can drive upon your driveway, but take care not to gouge its surface for the first few months with anything sharp, such as a yard chair or the kickstand of your bicycle. And don't turn your vehicle wheels while driving over it for the first 90 days. It can take from 6 to 9 months for your driveway to fully harden, depending on your area's climate and the season's weather.
Your asphalt will continue to look smooth and attractive for a few years, but over time the sun will begin to cause oxidation damage to its surface. Within two to three years you will want to apply a protective sealcoating layer to restore the asphalt's flexibility and appearance; the specific timing of this can depend on your area's weather fluctuations.Weather in Missouri and the surrounding area has hot, humid summers and icy, cold winters, which temperature changes can cause damage to your asphalt from expanding and contracting. Keep an eye on the condition of your asphalt driveway and give us a call at Metro Paving Company, Inc., to schedule a sealcoating treatment to protect your asphalt when it has lightened to a gray color.