Potholes are annoying to drive around and expensive to repair. They can cause serious vehicle damage too. According to one statistic, Americans spend about $3 billion each year on car repair costs as a result of driving over potholes on roads and other surfaces.
Prevention is easier, faster and less expensive than pothole repair. Therefore, if you have an asphalt driveway, it's important to learn what steps you can take to prevent potholes from forming. Trust us, both you and your car will be glad you did!
Prepare the Surface Properly
One of the most important steps in pothole prevention is to construct your driveway correctly in the first place. A properly laid driveway is a strong driveway with a greater ability to withstand damage. Durability is a must for both commercial and residential driveways.
Asphalt surfaces require strong foundations. Under the asphalt, there should be a base layer made up of an aggregate, such as recycled concrete blend base. This needs to be several inches thick, and it must be sufficiently compacted. Otherwise, the base layer is likely to settle, and even small shifts in the foundation can lead to cracked asphalt.
The importance of compaction doesn't end there! Once the asphalt layer is laid, it must be thoroughly pressed down as well. Using a heavy roller on the surface pushes out air bubbles that can weaken the structure and provide an avenue for damaging water to penetrate the surface.
To ensure a quality product, always choose an experienced, reliable paving company for your asphalt driveway installations.
Once your driveway is in place, the most critical thing that you can do for pothole prevention is to quickly take care of any cracks that pop up.
Cracks allow water to get underneath the asphalt. Then, when the weather turns cold, the moisture will freeze and expand, pushing the layer of asphalt out of place. When the ground thaws, the shifted asphalt will be susceptible to damage as soon as any weight is placed on it.
In addition, cracks provide a place for debris, such as small rocks and gravel, to gather. In hot weather, asphalt expands. When the expanded material pushes against the hard rocks that are in the cracks, it can cause the asphalt to break along the edges of the crack. This can turn a small crack into a larger one.
If you address cracks right away, you can prevent these process from happening. A professional paving company will apply a special sealant material to the cracks. This material will fill up the crack so neither water nor debris can get in.
Every few years, it's a good idea to sealcoat your driveway. This is a protective treatment that's designed for keeping damage at bay.
One way that sealcoating helps is that it guards against environmental wear and tear. Exposure to UV rays, oil leaks and moisture can cause the asphalt materials to break down prematurely, which will leave the driveway susceptible to damage.
Sealcoating also fills in tiny cracks. Although you may not be able to see these very small breaks in the surface, they're a problem because they're likely to get bigger over time. Filling them in at this stage of the game can keep that from happening.
Taking this preventive maintenance step on a regular basis is a smart way to reduce damage that could eventually lead to pothole formation.
Avoid Standing Water
It's bad enough when rainwater runs into driveway cracks. It's even worse when water lingers on the surface. Standing water wears away the pavement's protective finish and accelerates deterioration.
The best way to address the issue is to properly plan for drainage when the driveway is first laid. A good paving company will take care to slope the surface so the water runs off the driveway and away from buildings.
If your driveway was built without runoff in mind, it may still be possible to improve your property's drainage situation. An expert driveway company may be able to even out sunken spots or add drainage channels that can help to keep your driveway puddle-free, even during rainy or snowy seasons.
Address Small Potholes Right Away
If you already have a small pothole on your driveway, it's too late for prevention. However, that doesn't mean that you should just ignore the problem and move on. Rather, it's important to address the issue as soon as possible so it doesn't become worse.
One solution that many people use for filling holes is to patch the driveway. This can be a decent solution for small holes. Keep in mind, however, that the patched area won't blend in with the rest of the surface.
Some people perform DIY patching with cold-mix asphalt. While this can be better than nothing, it's not a very sturdy solution and may still allow water under your asphalt. It's much better to call pros who can fix your driveway with a heated mix instead. That way, the patch will last longer and be more effective at keeping water out.
If your pothole problem is too far gone for a patch to do the trick, you may need a new driveway instead. In that process, the top layer of the driveway is broken up and removed. Then, a new top layer is put down in its place. Depending on the extent of your damage, you may need to have this done in just one area or across your whole driveway.Which of these pothole-preventing steps does your driveway most need right now? Whether you could use crack filling, sealcoating or patching, Palermo Paving located in Bellport, NY can help. If you'd be better off starting fresh with a brand-new, properly laid driveway, we can do that too. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you prevent potholes in your asphalt driveway.