The first indications of spring, ah. In the backyard, robins are looking for worms to eat. The garden centers sell pansies. There are growing cracks in the driveway. Not all signs of spring are pleasant. Asphalt and concrete experience hardship from spring thaw after the wear and tear of winter. Even while a well-laid surface should be worry-free, it will occasionally need to be touched up to keep it looking good. Spring asphalt maintenance ideas are found below.
March is quickly approaching, and with it will come rising temperatures during the daytime with more sunlight pounding down on the asphalt and concrete driveways, causing internal expansion. Overnight, however, you will experience contraction due to the freezing temperatures.
On your asphalt surfaces during the winter, snow and ice frequently freeze and thaw. Water may collect and seep through your asphalt surface during the freeze-thaw cycle if your asphalt is graded improperly or has uneven patches. Since water expands when it freezes, your asphalt will break as a result. Potholes and cracks may result from these freezing and thawing cycles; contributing factors include moisture, plow techniques, the material itself, and the design of the driveway or lot.
Your driveway can require adjustment if it is bordered by high land, made of soil that retains rainwater, or has several low spots. In order to prevent water from pooling, the driveway needs to have a crown, which is a slightly higher place in the center that slopes to either side. Lower areas on either side of the driveway should allow water to drain away, occasionally into drainage ditches.
The most asphalt pavement deterioration might happen in the early spring. Water in the aggregate base and pavement freezes from the surface of the pavement all the way to the subgrade during the winter. The frozen pavement starts to defrost from the surface down to the subgrade during the spring thaw. Water from the thawing pavement is thus trapped in the materials beneath the pavement while the subgrade is still frozen. As a result of the subgrade becoming saturated, which makes it substantially weaker, the pavement is more easily damaged by vehicle traffic.
What can I do to safeguard my driveway and/or investment? To safeguard your pavement, start with preventative maintenance. Most water will be prevented from reaching the subgrade by caulking cracks and fixing potholes. Analyze the design of your driveway or property. Figure out where the water is going and where it is coming from. Is it making its way through the gaps of a storm sewer? Asphalt pavements are naturally vulnerable to water, thus it is advisable to make sure the drainage area surrounding your snow heaps is adequate to remove water from the pavement as quickly as possible.
Here are some important details to remember:
- Due to its inherent porosity, asphalt can absorb water from its surroundings. In the winter, water that seeps through asphalt may expand and freeze beneath the driveway’s surface, leading to cracks and other issues. Your driveway will begin to fracture and deteriorate as more cracks form because the more water it can hold, the more water it will absorb. The lifespan of your driveway may be greatly reduced as a result of these issues.
- Winter may be especially difficult on asphalt because the ground is frequently covered with ice and snow.
- Your driveway may crack for a variety of reasons, including excessive weight, buried tree roots, soil movement, and, of course, excessively cold weather. Concrete is porous, so it can be penetrated by rain or snow, which can then grow during freezing temperatures and shrink during warming ones. A driveway may crack, degrade, or even flake due to constant expansion and contraction during the fall and winter.
- De-icers using ammonium sulfate, magnesium acetate, and ammonium nitrate should not be used on concrete since they may erode the surface. The same should be true for chemicals used on lawns; they shouldn’t be permitted to come into touch with concrete. Asphalt can also be damaged by chemicals, like gasoline and oil.
- Driveways must be shielded from encroaching vegetation. Trim the grass off the edges of the driveway to prevent tree roots from pushing the surface upward.
- The right drainage is also crucial. Runoff can help remove standing water when suitable drainage is in place. Even driveways that seem to flat contain a small gradient for drainage.
- Your gutters are essentially another crucial drainage system. Maintain a spout direction that is away from your driveway. Melting snow and ice can start to run onto your driveway’s asphalt if they are aimed in that direction. In addition to harming your asphalt, this may also provide a safety risk.