6 Tips to Protect Your Asphalt Driveway During the Winter

Winter is fast approaching, and as you no doubt already know, winter can be very hard on asphalt. If you have an asphalt driveway, you should take precautions to protect it before the winter comes. Of course, you should also take certain precautions during the winter. These precautions include repairing all the cracks, covering the driveway with sealants, patching holes, estimating the traffic, and clearing debris off the driveway. To learn more about protecting your driveway during the winter, read on.

Repair All Asphalt Cracking

If you have any cracks in your driveway that have not already repaired, you should repair them before the first snow of the year. If snow and ice gets in the cracks, that may make the problem worse. This is especially true if the snow melts, then refreezes in the cracks. It will make the cracks worse and possibly destroy the asphalt completely. If this happens, you’ll have to replace the entire driveway, which can be quite expensive.

Protect Driveway with Sealants

If you haven’t already, you should apply a sealant to your driveway. This sealant will protect your driveway from snow, ice, water, dirt, and debris. You can have a commercial asphalt repair professional apply the sealant. This may be the most effective way to go about doing this. However, you can also purchase sealant yourself at the local hardware store and apply it on your own. This will save you money, but you will Iikely not be able to do it as effectively as a professional.

 Patch Holes

Just as you want to repair any cracks before winter comes, you should also patch any holes in the driveway. If you don’t, you may see similar negative effects to not repairing cracks, only worse. The weight of the snow and or ice on your driveway can cause the holes to become worse to the point where they go completely through the asphalt. If this happens, you will likely have to replace your driveway’s asphalt entirely or get commercial asphalt resurfacing.

 Estimate Increased Traffic

Most of the damage caused to your asphalt driveway is wear and tear from normal use. It’s always a good idea to estimate more traffic then you actually expect to get. This means that you’ll be prepared if there actually is an increase. You can prepare for increased traffic by applying heavy-duty sealants and patching holes and repairing cracks thoroughly with the highest quality materials. If you do this, there is a lesser chance that your driveway will sustain serious damage if traffic does actually increase during the winter. Of course, this will help extend the life of your driveway far beyond the upcoming winter, as well.

 Clear Debris Before Winter By Shoveling  Regularly 

Clearing debris off of your driveway before the cold weather hits is one often overlooked aspect of preparing your asphalt for the winter. It is important to clear the debris off for several reasons. First of all, the debris may become frozen to the driveway when it gets cold, which will make it impossible to remove. This could result in permanent damage to the driveway if the debris contains chemicals that can eat through asphalt. You should also make sure to clear debris during the winter by shoveling it off your driveway on a regular basis.

Should You Pave with Asphalt or Concrete?

When paving your driveway, it pays off to use the best materials possible. Whether you’re installing a new driveway, conducting driveway repair or are resituating your front yard’s layout, you should know the differences between asphalt and concrete installations.

If you don’t want to use low-end gravel or brick pavers, asphalt and concrete are your best bet. Each has advantages, but each is particular to different housing, driveway, traffic and lifestyle situations. Before picking a material, check out the differences below.

 

Concrete

When paving with concrete, you’ll have the benefit of a quick dry time. While both concrete and asphalt need to ‘cure’ before they’re driven on, concrete may take longer to dry. Concrete driveways utilize cement as a main building material.

The Positives

In general, cement driveways last longer than tar driveways. Tar is softer than cement, and it degrades quicker. With proper maintenance, a cement driveway can last ages. Additionally, a concrete drive is aesthetically pleasing if a homeowner wants a natural-looking home extension. Plus, concrete delivery is normally quick.

Concrete is an easy material to work with, and it can be manipulated to exist in a number of different finishes. Concrete can be tinted, stained and revised to display a number of colors. It can also be colored on a section-by-section basis, giving a driveway unique patterns. Concrete is a fantastic mold, too. Homeowners can etch, engrave and stamp various designs into concrete, making their driveway incredibly unique.

The Negatives

While cement is incredibly flexible, it’s frequently expensive to use as a material. Concrete takes much longer than cement to dry, so it isn’t a great option for homeowners in need of a quick sidewalk repair, driveway repair or installation.

Because concrete is comprised of sand and minerals, it’s more susceptible to cracking. It doesn’t expand well, and it can break if the temperature rises, or falls, rapidly. Salt, used for melting ice, is a good investment if you live in a cold area.

 

Asphalt

Like concrete, asphalt does take time to dry before it can be driven over. A lot of homeowners in high-temperature climates use asphalt for its temperature resistance. While asphalt may get hotter than cement, it’s a great choice for homeowners seeking long-lasting options while being practical.

The Positives

Asphalt is easily poured, so it’s a great option in terms of installation flexibility. Tar is generally cheaper than cement, and it offers a great bang-for-your-buck experience. Because tar expands and contracts with heat contact, it’s an excellent installation option if you live in a hot area.

A lot of homeowners use asphalt to create a seamless driveway-to-road look. Asphalt, for many, offers a more “classic” design than typical asphalt installations.

The Negatives

Asphalt is a more limited than concrete. Because it needs to be rolled and compressed, unique finishes are difficult to maintain. Until recently, asphalt color variations were limited. Still, some homeowners may not like the lack of design diversity with asphalt.

Asphalt needs to be resealed every three to five years, too. It also needs to be resurfaced. Fortunately, asphalt repairs are generally easier to conduct than concrete repairs.

 

So, Which Should You Choose?

While both materials are viable installation options, you should select the material most conducive to your area’s environment. If your driveway experiences rapid temperature shifts often, stick with asphalt. If you live in a cold area, consider installing a cement driveway.

An asphalt driveway can cost between four and seven times as much as a concrete driveway. While a concrete street needs little maintenance over 20 to 30 years, an asphalt driveway may need to be resurfaced in as little as 15 years. Paving with concrete means you’ll face less maintenance. However, concrete may not last as long.

At the end of the day, measure the costs. Then, pick the driveway repair, installation or replacement option healthiest for your wallet—and for your family.

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