As a home inspector in the Twin Cities area, I usually see an issue or two with asphalt driveways. While no driveway will last forever, a few actions at the right time will extend the live of your driveway well beyond it’s 25 year average. Because replacement costs can be as high as $15 a square foot, regular maintenance is time and money well spent.
The most common issue I find is a gap in the asphalt driveway where it meets the garage, and a noticeable dip. The gap starts to form when the house is about 10 years old. Fill the gap with backer rod and seal with a high quality caulk.
At about 20 years, there is a noticeable dip in the driveway, about 2 feet wide, all across the driveway. This is caused by two things happening at the same time.
Ants move the sandy soil under the surface, creating space under the surface. The heat of the sun warms and softens the asphalt, causing it to cave in the ant home. (Don’t worry about the ants. This is a normal part of their existence).
To correct the dip, most folks replace that section with concrete.
If the driveway is badly broken, total replacement is in order. Be sure to seal the new driveway when it is about 90 days old.
It is important to keep your driveway clean. Power wash and sweep as needed to maintain a clean, smooth surface. Patch any cracks as soon as they form. Concrete should be sealed every year, asphalt every 3 o 4 years. You will know when it’s time to seal the asphalt when you can see the color of the stones. This is a DYI project, but please do your homework first. The folks that seal driveways for a living are happy to point out rooky mistakes; Too cold (less than 60 degrees), applying the coat too thick or too thin, applying the coat over debris and not fixing cracks first. Oh, and trying to cheep out on materials. You really do get what you pay for.
To learn more about driveway maintenance, click HERE for an article from the folks at The Family Handyman. I love those guys!