Given the current state of affairs in the US and around the world, many homeowners will likely find themselves at home with more “DIY” time on their hands this Fall.
With Autumn quickly approaching in Colorado, the idea of pre-winter home and yard maintenance comes to many-a-mind. It’s around this time that many homeowners drain their outdoor faucets, haul in the patio furniture, sow or fertilize their lawns, and anything else to prepare their homesteads for the long, cold winter months that the Centennial state is so well-known for.
One of the most important annual tasks for homeowners is driveway upkeep. While asphalt maintenance can be performed during any time of year, it’s best suited for Autumn for a number of reasons. The impending winter season and the damage it can cause are best rivaled with a well-maintained, well-prepared asphalt driveway.
There are multiple factors to consider regarding asphalt maintenance. While each homeowner will discover their own needs and issues along the way, here’s a checklist of some of the more common elements that go into Autumn asphalt maintenance.
To ensure your asphalt driveway is as ready as can be for the harshness of Winter, follow these tips:
The first order of business is to clean your asphalt driveway as thoroughly as possible. The best way to do this is with a pressure washer, as it provides the heavy force required to thoroughly remove dirt and debris from the driveway surface without using any chemicals. Without pressure washing, these particles will build up in cracks and crevices in the asphalt that grow overtime, causing increasingly more damage.
Pressure washing not only keeps your asphalt driveway healthy and dirt-free; it also adds to the curb appeal of your home. A clean and well-maintained driveway is often the first visible element of a property, and first impressions are everything!
During the Summer, hot temperatures cause asphalt to expand, which often closes visible cracks. Conversely, Winter’s cold temperatures contract the asphalt, expanding the cracks. This makes Autumn the perfect time for crack-patching, as moderate temperatures create the optimal conditions for the sealant to work.
Home improvement centers sell a variety of crack filling products in caulk-style tubes. While these products are fast to apply and easy to handle, they are not as durable as melt-in sealants that are used by highway crews and asphalt contractors. However, these melt-in sealants require more time and equipment to apply.
To fill driveway cracks using melt-in sealer, you’ll need the melt-in material and cover mix themselves, plus a propane torch and leaf blower or air hose to fully spread the sealing fluid. If you have several hairline cracks in your asphalt driveway, you may want to consider using a concrete saw to widen them and make them more accessible.
While the importance of sealcoating has seen some debate in the asphalt industry, there’s no doubt that it works--if done correctly. Sealcoating not only restores color and gloss to a faded driveway, it also protects and strengthens the asphalt and prevents future damage in the form of cracks and potholes.
Sealcoating is a mixture of a bituminous or acrylic liquid emulsion mixed with water, particle solids (usually sand), polymer and proprietary additives. Typically applied with a squeegee, it can also be brushed or sprayed on. Sealcoating should only be applied when temperatures are above 50 degrees for at least 24 hours, making Winter a less-than-ideal time to sealcoat a driveway. To reap the full benefits of the sealcoating, a minimum of two coats is recommended.
Sealcoating usually lasts 2 to 3 years before re-sealing is needed. During that time, however, it will likely prevent damage to your asphalt driveway that would require expensive repairs. Many experts believe proper sealcoating procedures more than double the lifespan of an asphalt driveway, saving potentially thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs.
While asphalt maintenance is certainly something that can be done “DIY”, some people simply don’t have the time or energy for such a task. In addition, a certain level of skill is required for some asphalt repair projects.
In these situations, it’s best to rely on a professional concrete and asphalt contractor. Enright Companies has been providing full-range asphalt and concrete services for Denver and surrounding areas for over 30 years. Our asphalt maintenance services include inspection, crack sealing, sealcoating, infrared patching, overlaying, and full-on removal and replacement.
If you’ve fallen victim to a cracked, crumbling, or otherwise deteriorating asphalt driveway, don’t just sit back and let the problem get worse; contact the asphalt professionals at Enright Companies today!