Asphalt damage can occur at any time of the year, but winter can be especially harsh on your driveway. If you're only going to evaluate the condition of your asphalt once per year, then spring is an excellent time to perform a close inspection. Many pavement problems can grow worse over time and with use, so quickly recognizing and resolving these issues can save you money and trouble in the future.
However, evaluating your driveway can sometimes be tricky if you aren't an asphalt expert. Although it's easy to spot large potholes or severe cracks, some subtle problems may go unnoticed. These three tips will help you perform a thorough inspection to resolve any issues before they become critical.
1. Dirt and Water Can Tell You a Lot
One of the first things you should look for on your driveway are signs of pooling water or collecting dirt. If your asphalt is uneven, water can wash sand, dirt, and other debris into low areas on the driveway. However, problems that aren't particularly severe (yet) can be hard to spot without these indications. Look for "stripes" of dirt running down your driveway since this may indicate wavy or buckling asphalt.
Don't assume that these issues are minor just because they can be hard to notice. If your driveway has peaks and troughs, then it may be buckling under the surface due to frost heaves or other problems. This situation will eventually lead to severe cracks or even holes in the surface. Residential asphalt paving contractors will help you understand the situation better and develop a repair plan to prevent further damage.
2. Drainage Issues Matter
Looking beyond the asphalt can also help provide clues to your driveway's condition. As snow gives way to spring ways, watch for water pooling near your garage or along the sides of your driveway. These drainage issues can potentially indicate an underlying problem with the base underneath the driveway. Over time, drainage issues may cause your driveway to sink, crack, or even break apart.
In most cases, you won't need to dig up your driveway to resolve this issue. A contractor can discuss options to fix the problem, including adding extra height to the driveway or finding a way to channel water away from vulnerable areas.
3. Small Cracks Can Lead to Big Problems
Finally, don't ignore any problems you find just because they seem tiny. Your asphalt surface helps to keep water from reaching the lower layers, and cracks create vulnerabilities. Water can enter even small gaps. This moisture then travels to the lower layers of your driveway, where it can freeze and expand when winter returns, creating frost heaves that can destroy the asphalt surface.
Following these tips to scrutinize your driveway will allow you to keep it well-maintained and avoid many of the costliest problems faced by homeowners.