Asphalt Maintenance FAQs

Grand Rapids Asphalt Maintenance FAQ's

Regular maintenance of your asphalt is the best way to extend its life and protect your investment in your driveway or parking lot. Our asphalt paving contractors have put together a few frequently asked questions regarding asphalt maintenance and repair to help you keep up with your asphalt surfaces.

What causes asphalt to fail?

The primary cause of failure for asphalt that has been properly installed is water penetration to the asphalt’s base. This penetration leads to the oxidation of the base, which causes a drying out of the asphalt’s binders. The asphalt then becomes brittle and begins to chip and crack, allowing for more water penetration and further deterioration of the asphalt.

How do I prevent asphalt failure?

Regular preventative maintenance will extend the life of your asphalt. Crack filling, sealcoating, and asphalt patching are great preventative ways to protect your asphalt driveway or parking lot.

How often should I sealcoat my driveway or parking lot and why?

Sealcoating is recommended after the first 90 days of installation and then again the next year. After that, we recommend sealcoating every 2-3 years. Sealcoating slows down the deterioration process by protecting the asphalt from weathering elements and water penetration. 

When is the best time to sealcoat?

The best time to have your driveway or parking lot sealcoated is during the warmer summer months. The warmer temperatures and additional UV rays help the sealcoat drying process and ensure even drying. However, sealcoating can be done effectively outside of the summer months. 

What should be done about cracking asphalt?

Ultimately the size and severity of the crack will determine what needs to be done. Typically simple crack filling can prevent further damage caused by the freeze-thaw cycle. Crack filling seals off water from entering the asphalt’s base. This form of maintenance is one of the best ways to lengthen the life of your asphalt. The ideal time to fill cracks is in the fall after the cracks are at their widest. We recommend yearly crack filling because of this, especially with Michigan’s weather. 

What should I do about oil spots on my driveway?

If left untreated, oil spots can cause damage by slowly eating away the asphalt’s binders. Oil spots can be cleaned with a commercial degreaser, brush, and water. Be sure to completely rinse off the degreaser from the asphalt

Do I need to repair potholes?

You should repair potholes in your driveway or parking lot as soon as they appear. Not only are potholes a dangerous hazard that could cause someone to trip, but they also only get worse over time. Repairing a pothole right away ensures that you won’t have to worry about pricier, more extensive repairs down the line. 

What is the difference between resurfacing and replacement?

If your asphalt surface is damaged but the foundation remains intact, resurfacing might be all you need to repair the damage. We’ll apply an asphalt overlay that makes your asphalt driveway or parking lot look brand new. In the case of a parking lot, we can also paint new stripes to mark each parking spot. 

However, if the foundation of your asphalt surface has been damaged, we’ll need to replace your entire driveway or parking lot. It’s a good idea to keep up with regular asphalt maintenance to hopefully avoid this outcome for as long as possible. 

Can I use ice-melting products on my asphalt?

Ice melting products are fine for using on asphalt. Salt or most other melting agents will not harm your driveway or parking lot. They can, however, cause some staining so just be sure to rinse off the asphalt once temperatures increase.

If you have any questions about asphalt maintenance or asphalt repair, the Grand Rapids asphalt contractors at A-1 Asphalt Inc. can help. Give us a call at (800) 871-4401, we would love to help.