Asphalt is a dark, sticky material made of aggregates, such as sand and gravel, bound together with a petroleum-based material known as bitumen. Bitumen acts as a binding agent between the other ingredients to form a hard-wearing asphalt surface. Asphalt driveways typically use asphalt paving mixtures that contain a variety of sizes and types of aggregates.
But how long does an asphalt driveway last? Read more as we’ll get into the details of this topic in today’s article.
Why Is Asphalt A Preferred Material For Constructing Residential Driveways
Asphalt is the preferred material for constructing residential driveways due to its durability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Asphalt is a strong and durable material that can withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. It also has excellent impact resistance, which makes it ideal for areas with heavy traffic or cold climates that experience frequent freeze/thaw cycles. Asphalt driveways are relatively inexpensive compared to other driveway materials such as concrete, brick or stone pavers. Additionally, asphalt driveways require minimal maintenance and repairs over their long lifespan and can be resealed every 2-3 years to extend their life even longer.
Asphalt sealing is a process that is used to protect asphalt surfaces from the elements, such as water, sun, and oxidation. This protection helps extend the life of an asphalt surface and keep it looking new for longer. Asphalt sealing involves applying an additional layer of protection over a paved surface to help fill in small cracks and holes, provide an extra layer of protection from the weather, and improve overall durability.
Expected Lifespan Of Asphalt And Factors That Affect Asphalt Longevity
On average, a driveway made of asphalt will last between 25 and 30 years depending on the climate and wear and tear from vehicle traffic. In warmer climates, it is estimated that the driveway can last up to 30 years while in colder climates, the life expectancy may be less than 10 years. There are several factors that can affect how long the driveway will last, including the quality of installation, the type and amount of traffic on the driveway, regular maintenance, and weather conditions.
The quality of installation is a major factor in the longevity of an asphalt surface. If not installed properly, the asphalt can quickly break down and erode due to weathering, water saturation, and other environmental factors. Poor construction practices can reduce the overall lifespan of your driveway by as much as 50%. Proper installation can help ensure that your driveway lasts for years without repairs or replacements. An experienced contractor will be able to engineer a strong base layer beneath the asphalt surface to ensure maximum stability before applying the final layer of asphalt pavement. This extra attention to detail during installation can provide you with a lasting and durable driveway for many years.
Aside from that, the type and amount of traffic passing through can affect the pavement’s longevity in several ways. That’s because heavier traffic places more stress on the asphalt, leading to wear and tear on its surface. Regular driveways used for everyday traffic may last up to 30 years before needing a full replacement. But if your driveway is exposed to heavy vehicles such as cars or trucks, it can break down more quickly, with an expected life of around 15-20 years.
Regular maintenance of asphalt pavement is also key to extending its lifespan. Without maintenance, the material can become brittle and quickly weather away due to exposure to the elements. This will cause cracking and result in water seeping through which leads to further damage like potholes, crumbling edges, and poor draining.
In the same way, weather conditions can play a big role in the lifespan of asphalt pavement. Temperature extremes, heavy rain, and snow can all cause damage to asphalt driveways if not taken care of properly. Extreme cold temperatures can cause the asphalt to become brittle and crack, while extremely hot temperatures will cause it to soften and degrade. Heavy rains can wash away some of the protective materials on top that help maintains its integrity. Snowfall accumulates on top of driveways as well which can add extra weight that may need to be removed with a snow blower or shoveled off by hand.
Proper Maintenance Is Essential
As mentioned, proper maintenance is critical to keeping your driveway in good condition for as long as possible. It’s important to regularly inspect and repair any cracks or potholes that may appear. Sealing your driveway is also important, as it helps to protect against damage from UV rays, oil spills, and freeze-thaw cycles. Asphalt sealant should be applied every 2-3 years in order to maximize the lifespan of your driveway. Finally, properly maintaining the drainage around your driveway can help prevent water from pooling on the surface and damaging the asphalt.
By following these tips and taking care of your asphalt driveway, you can ensure that it will last for many years to come. And with proper installation, regular maintenance, and proper drainage, your driveway could potentially last up to 30 years or more.