Having a new asphalt driveway installed is a wise choice, since asphalt is durable and can continue to look good for many years. There are some things, though, that can compromise the integrity of your asphalt drive. Being aware of these mistakes can help you avoid them.
#1: Sealing the driveway too soon
A good driveway sealer can help prolong the life of the asphalt by providing a protective barrier against the elements and other damaging agents. Sealers work by filling in the natural pores on the asphalt so moisture can't be absorbed. The problem is when they are applied too soon. Asphalt can take a couple of months to fully cure. Applying a sealer within this window can prevent the asphalt from curing properly, which makes it more prone to uneven settling, cracks, and crumbling. A better idea is to schedule a sealing a couple of months after installation, and then have it reapplied every couple of years.
#2: Ignoring the heat sensitivity of the surface
Asphalt softens in high heat. This isn't a concern when driving on it since the weight of a vehicle is dispersed over four tires. The concern is when weight is concentrated on a small point when the asphalt is either freshly laid or the temperatures are warm. This can result in an indent or hole in the asphalt. Avoid walking on the asphalt in high heals the first couple of months after installation. RV and trailer jack posts are a major cause for dents, so slip a piece of wood between the asphalt and the post to disperse the weight. The same tactic should be used for motorcycle kickstands, particularly on fresh asphalt.
#3: Allowing chemical damage to occur
Asphalt isn't impervious to chemical damage. Salt used for melting winter ice is particularly damaging, since it can lead to cracks and pitting on the asphalt surface. If you must use something to melt the ice, skip the rock salt and use an actual ice melt product. Then, sweep up the excess as soon as the ice melts. Gasoline, oil, and other engine fluids can also damage asphalt. If you have a car that leaks or if you work on cars in your drive, place a garage mat beneath them to catch any spills. Finally, avoid spilling lawn chemicals or home improvement chemicals, such as paint or paint thinner, on the drive.
For more help, contact an asphalt contractor in your area such as Capital Paving.