Asphalt is a very popular product for parking lots and for home driveways, as it's usually more affordable than concrete and may provide more noise insulation in busy areas. Asphalt is also very durable but it will need maintenance and repairs over the years to keep it from cracking and separating. How you maintain your asphalt parking lot or driveway will affect its longevity, so note a few commonly asked questions about asphalt and its overall care so you can keep yours in good repair.
How often should asphalt be sealed?
Seal coating asphalt is one of the best ways to keep it in good repair and improve its longevity. When you have asphalt poured, you will be told when it needs seal coating, but this is usually done within a few months so it's completely set or dry. You may then need to have it seal coated the next year, and then every few years after that. This schedule might be adjusted according to your area or use; a parking lot with lots of heavy traffic may need seal coating done more regularly than a home driveway, as an example. If you live in an area with long winters or the potential for flooding during a rainy season, you may also need seal coating done more often.
Is there a recommended time for seal coating?
Sealing your asphalt is generally best done in the summer, as the warm temperature will help the coating to dry more quickly so it's less likely to evaporate before it creates a protective barrier for the asphalt. Sealing asphalt can be done at other times but if possible, wait until summer when it's warm.
Is it okay to use salt on asphalt?
Salt will often cause concrete to crack because it is so drying, but the texture of asphalt is much different than concrete and not typically affected by salt. Other de-icing products may leave a stain on asphalt but they don't usually damage the surface the way they might damage concrete. As with any product you might use on your property, simply be sure you read the package directions before you use it on your driveway or parking lot.
How do you clean oil from asphalt?
Oil is one of the most damaging elements for asphalt, as it will bind with the petroleum base of the material and cause the adhesives to break down. In turn, the asphalt will start to crack or separate. Use a de-greasing agent on an oil stain along with a stiff exterior broom to clean such stains and spots.