Having a smooth, dark driveway leading up to your home looks sleek and attractive. Asphalt’s dark grey/black colour matches with almost any home’s colour scheme, and can also match with the street for a smooth cohesiveness.
Compared to similarly priced gravel, asphalt will definitely give you the bang for your buck, lasting 10-20 and in some cases more than 20 years. Unlike gravel, it’s not disturbed by cold, snowy weather, won’t bring dust and dirt into your home, and will not develop ruts and sinkholes. Asphalt can get damaged in areas where they endure high heat, but in the lower mainland where it doesn’t get too hot, it’s a great option.
If your existing driveway is gravel, It’s a good idea to pave it for curb appeal, and also to increase your home’s value. A welcoming and clean driveway is the first impression it leaves on your guests and potential buyers, so keeping it well maintained should be a priority.
Asphalt is a great material for its economical price, and its high elasticity makes it more pliable, making it more crack-resistant than concrete, and more forgiving in colder climates. If you live in an area that gets lots of snow, the blacktop will attract more heat from the sun and melt it more quickly. Overall, asphalt is a great choice for the lower mainland’s cold climate.
What is asphalt?
Asphalt is similar to the black material you see road crews working with. It’s a mix of stone, sand, and a tar-like substance made of petroleum. It can also be called tarmac or blacktop. It only comes in the colour black, and can be filled in with a hot pour rubberized sealer should any cracks occur.
There are many reasons why you should choose asphalt:
Asphalt is considerably cheaper than concrete or tiled pavers. While it’s more expensive than gravel, its quality does not really compare as it lasts much longer!
Short Installation Time
Unlike concrete, you can also drive on asphalt pretty much right away, generally 24 hours after paving. This is because it hardens by cooling, and does not require curing like concrete. There’s very little that’s inconvenient about installing an asphalt driveway, as it usually only takes one day.
Asphalt is less prone to cracking than concrete as it is pliable. It also does better in colder climates as that’s when concrete tends to crack.
When an asphalt driveway cracks, the repair is quick and easy. Once you’ve filled the cracks in, you won’t have to wait days to drive on it again. What’s more, it’s easy to clean as it’s smooth, and because of its black colour it doesn’t show as many scuffs and stains as concrete.
Asphalt driveways require regular maintenance to ensure it lasts a long time. This can include the following:
Crack sealing - If you see any cracks, it’s best to fill them in the fall. when your driveway has cooled down from the summer and cracks are widest. This will keep moisture coming in the winter from entering the cracks and compromising the strength of the driveway. Sealing these cracks will prevent any future issues from arising like potholes.
Seal coating - Every year your driveway goes through cycles of hot sun and freezing temperatures that compromise the binding elements in asphalt. This annual assault eventually deteriorates your driveway, resulting in needing a replacement. To slow down this process, you’ll want to apply seal coating every 3-5 years for optimal use. You can pour the hot sealant on the driveway, spread it out evenly, then let it cool. We supply a high quality commercial grade sealant that we recommend.
Oil spots - Not only is it unsightly, oil can damage your asphalt driveway so it’s best to clean it right away if a spill occurs. If left alone, they can eat away at the binding elements in the asphalt and speed up the deterioration. Your best bet is to clean them up right away with a quality degreaser and a broom!
Weed control - Weeds can sprout inside cracks that open up throughout the summer. It’s important to get rid of all unwanted greenery as it comes up so you can easily fill the crack in come fall.
Edging - One drawback for an asphalt driveway is that you may not get clean-cut edges. However, you can create the illusion of a clean edge by keeping the lawn edge clean and under control. In addition, edging will keep weeds from creeping into your driveway, keeping it safe from potential deterioration.
If you want the longest life out of your asphalt driveway, there are certain things you can avoid:
Parking - If you own a trailer or RV that you need to park in your driveway, we recommend placing a sheet of plywood underneath each of the wheels to distribute the weight evenly and not create any dents or divots.
Heavy Vehicles - Moving trucks, garbage trucks, and construction vehicles can ruin your driveway even if they’re not staying long. They are incredibly heavy and can leave cracks and holes in your precious driveway.
Quick Turns & Power Steering - This can result in tire tracking or denting, especially on a freshly seal coated driveway or on a hot summer day. Taking care in not turning your steering wheel too quickly or when you’re going too slowly will make sure this doesn’t happen, as they can’t be fixed until it’s seal coated again!
Spills - Regular gasoline won’t cause damage to your asphalt driveway right away, so that’s easily cleaned up. However, diesel fuel and citrus-based cleaners will cause permanent damage. Take extra care if you drive a diesel fueled vehicle, or switch your cleanser!
There are a lot of advantages to switching to an asphalt driveway, and they are easily maintained so you can keep it looking its best. Call Burnaby Concrete today for a consultation!