5 Asphalt Weathering Concerns and How to Prevent Them


Asphalt is a durable and attractive choice for your home's driveway, but the effects of weathering can lead to damage. Fortunately, most weathering problems are avoidable or at least repairable if you catch them early enough.

1. Wet Season Drainage

Poor drainage is one of the most common causes of weathering damage on asphalt. Water that collects on the surface can absorb slowly over time. If that moisture seeps into asphalt pores and then freezes, the expansion of the moisture then leads to cracks or pothole development.

Your driveway may need drainage installation if water pools on the surface. An asphalt contractor will determine the best location for a drain. They can then cut into the asphalt and install a drainage port or trough, which will then go to the nearest storm drain or gutter.

2. Summer Sun Exposure Issues

UV light breaks down the bond in the asphalt. This causes the petroleum-based binder to shrink, which can lead to the aggregate breaking free from the asphalt mix. The result is loose gravel and a rough surface on your driveway.

A seal coat is the single best way to protect your asphalt from UV damages. Seal coats are paint-on sealers that contain a slurry of tar and sealants. Apply the first coat within three to six months of initial asphalt paving. Then, reapply it every two to four years, as UV exposure and moisture will eventually wear down the protective coating.

3. Seasonal Exposure Concerns

Small weathering damages can occur, even with proper care. Small cracks and pits, which will eventually develop into large cracks and pits, are the most likely forms of damage. These occur due to exposure to UV light, temperature extremes, and moisture.

When damage does occur, act quickly to schedule the proper repair. Fill and seal small cracks so that they don't become large cracks. Fill divots, chips, and potholes with a hot asphalt mix, which bonds to the existing asphalt to create a durable and long-lasting patch. Seal coating over these repairs will help blend in the patches so they aren't as visibly obvious.

4. Heat Damages

Hot asphalt, even older asphalt, will soften in response to the higher temperatures. This means your asphalt will often have a softer surface in response to hot and sunny weather. Heavy items on the driveway, such as a jack on a trailer or even the kickstand for a motorcycle, can leave a divot or depression in the driveway. Water can then collect in the divot and lead to future potholes.

You can easily avoid depressions — simply distribute the weight so it isn't focused on a small area. A board beneath a jack stand or kickstand works well. If a divot does form, your asphalt contractor can patch and level the paving so it doesn't develop into a pothole in the future. Also, pull into the driveway in a slightly different path each time, particularly in hot weather, so tire depressions don't form on the paving.

5. Erosion Problems

Crumbling edges are usually a result of poor drainage around the perimeter of the driveway, which causes the base beneath the asphalt edges to erode. As the base erodes, the asphalt begins to crumble, and grass and weeds along the verge begin to further break down the edges

A strong base and proper drainage is the best way to prevent edge crumbling. If drainage is an issue, your contractor can install perforated pipes beneath the soil along the edge of the drive to help route water away. If damage is already an issue, then your asphalt technician may need to cut away the edge so that they can rebuild the base. Then, they can install a new asphalt edge.

Contact Star Paving Company if you need assistance with your asphalt driveway.