The How, Why and When of Your New Asphalt Driveway Care
PLEASE KEEP OFF
Since the liquid asphalt in blacktop needs time to harden and cure, usually 6-12 months, your driveway will remain soft and pliable until then. You may walk on your new driveway immediatley, but keep any vehicles off it for at least 3-5 full days and even longer in hotter temperatures. Even after the blacktop has cured, do not expect it to be as hard as concrete. Although every effort is made to avoid puddles in your driveway, some small ones are inevitable depending on the natural slope and drainage of your ground.
Your new blacktop will soften and harden as temperatures rise and fall. Watering down your driveway with a hose on hot days will cool and temporarily harden the blacktop. This is helpful but not mandatory. If soap suds should appear do not be alarmed. This is a reaction between the diesel fuel found in the blacktop and high chlorine content found in some city water.
During the first 6-12 months while your driveway is curing don't park in the same spot every time. Do not turn your steering wheel back and forth when your car is not moving. Blacktop can scar by vehicles starting out to fast, pulling in too quickly and just plain driving too fast.
Excessive weight from large heavy vehicles can depress your new blacktop. Keep oil trucks, concrete trucks and any other heavy trucks off your new driveway. When storing campers for a long periods of time, place a piece of plywood under the tongue jack and also under the tires. Avoid using jack stands or car ramps unless a piece of plywood is placed under them to help distribute the weight.
Motorcycle kickstands, bicycles and lawn chairs exert weight on concentrated areas and will create holes and depressions in your new driveway. Especially watch out for those pointy high heels during the warm months when your driveway is new.
Your driveway may look smoother in some areas than in others because of the makeup of blacktop. Blacktop has various sizes of stone, sand, liquid asphalt, and other ingredients which cause a varied texture of the surface. Also, blacktop areas that have been raked and spread with hand tools may appear different in texture from those spread by machine.
To preserve your new driveway, it is advisable to seal coat it after it has been paved. Sealing to soon, however, may cause damage to your new driveway. The best time to seal is anywhere from 12 months after it has been paved, and every 2-3 years thereafter. Because blacktop is naturally porous, water can seep into and through the pavement. This not only causes deterioration, but results in ridges and upheaval due to frost and freezing. Any hairline cracks that may have developed over the winter due to the contraction and expansion of the ground should be filled with a hot rubber crack filler. Blacktop is also softened and broken up by gasoline, lube, oil, grease, road salts and anti-freeze which drips from vehicles. Sealer protects blacktop with a coating that is impervious to these harmful elements. Unprotected driveways remain porous, dry out, become rough, and lose their life rapidly.
The edges are the weakest part of your driveway due to the lack of side support. Avoid driving on the edges since they will crack and crumble in time. We suggest building up the sides of your driveway with topsoil. This will support the edges and enhance the appearance after the grass is grown.
Avoid gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, power steering and transmission fluid spills and leaks. These will dilute the liquid asphalt in your blacktop. Any hole left by these spills should be fixed appropriately.