A lot of homeowners couldn’t even tell you the last time they thought about their driveway. It’s one of those things you’d prefer not to think about it all — because if you’re thinking about it, there’s probably something wrong with it.
Eventually, though, driveways begin to break down, and new investments are required. So how can homeowners maximize the lifespan of their driveways and minimize the amount of money and stress they need to put into it?
1. Address repairs sooner rather than later
It’s always tempting to put things off until tomorrow, especially that “thing” is as unexciting as a crack or pothole in your driveway. And it’s easy to procrastinate something that seems small and insignificant at first. But those cracks and fissures always spread over time, and if repairs aren’t done in good time, problems get worse. Before you know it, you’ve got major repairs on your hands. Addressing repairs sooner rather than later is the best way to avoid this.
2. Fresh sealcoating on a regular basis
Sealcoating is a way to protect the surface of the pavement and prevent moisture (water and chemicals) from seeping in and affecting the structural integrity. Many pavement specialist recommend sealcoating every year or two, depending on the local climate where you live. Keep in mind that sealcoating can’t be done right away on a new driveway. A waiting period of several months is standard before the first sealcoating.
3. Don’t use chemicals
Aside from sealcoating, which is a helpful chemical composition when applied correctly and at the right intervals, there are chemicals that are actually harmful to pavement over the long term. De-icing chemicals are the main one. Obviously something has to be done about ice on the driveway, but de-icing chemicals can seep down into the pavement and break down the structural integrity of the asphalt or concrete.
4. Hire a real professional
This many sound obvious, but hiring a truly experienced and qualified professional it much different than hiring whoever you come across first. Pavement specialists run the gamut from experienced pros with cutting-edge tools to startups and moonlighters who simply don’t work on the same professional level. Making the right decision on who to hire will make a big difference in the lifespan of your driveway.
5. Choose concrete over asphalt
Asphalt is a long-lasting material, there’s no doubt about that. A quality installation can last a decade or two under normal circumstances. But concrete does last longer, on average, and is a stronger material than asphalt. It’s also more expensive. But if you like the look and feel of concrete, and you’re willing to spend more up front, choosing concrete is a proven way to increase the lifespan of your driveway.
The driveway you want
Driveways aren’t something that homeowners tend to think about — until something starts to go wrong, and repairs become necessary. Hiring the right contractor and getting sound advice is probably the best and simplest step you can take, but all of the items on this list are great, practical ways to increase the lifespan of your driveway.