As the weather warms up, you and your family may find yourself spending more time outside. Because of this, the tolls of winter may become more obvious to you. If you live in an area where snow and ice are common elements during the winter, your driveway may be in a much worse state than you originally thought. Water that seeps below your drive, whether through cracks in the asphalt’s surface or from pools of standing water beside your driveway, can have devastating effects. Frost heaves can be particularly devastating if this should happen. How do you know your driveway is beyond a simple repair? Let us take a look.
Cracks start small. When you catch early, these small cracks are relatively easy and cheap to repair. However, cracks can get “too bad” rather quickly. Water, insects, organic matter and more can cause a small crack to quickly erode and become a much bigger issue. If you notice multiple cracks in a specific area that resemble alligator skin, it is game over. Patching or filling alligator cracks, as these types of cracks are known as, will no longer stop the continued cracking. In fact, applying filler over these types of cracks can actually lead to more extensive damage! If your cracks completely penetrate your asphalt and reach the foundation surface beneath your driveway, repairs are also no longer advisable.
A pothole may appear to just be a chunk of missing asphalt. However, the cause is actually much more serious. Potholes typically occur when the foundation beneath the driveway develops a hole. As the dirt beneath the driveway collapses, it pulls the driveway downward and creates a pothole. Sure, you could fill a pothole. However, you are still left with the initial foundation issue. This will likely become a recurring problem if not addressed by a professional.
Your asphalt’s primary means of defense is through a driveway sealant. These sealants should be applied every one to three years depending on your driveways use and the environment it sits in. Why is this important? The truth is that water is your driveway’s worst enemy. Sealant provides a waterproof barrier that prevents water from seeping into and beneath it. Drainage issues that occur on top of or around your driveway spell major problems for your asphalt. If you notice continual issues with drainage, you may have a more serious problem on your hand. Sealant helps to preserve your driveway, however, it cannot fix water damages that are already extensive.
Seal Your Driveway
If you take care of your driveway now, you can prolong its lifespan. Sealing your driveway provides a waterproof barrier, as well as UV and oxygen protections. Repaving your entire driveway can be very expensive. Fixing minor problems now and applying a coat of sealant can keep your driveway functional for years to come. However, if the damages are much too great, you may need to repave.