How Long Should an Asphalt Driveway Last?

June 24, 2021

A freshly paved driveway can immediately improve the look of the front of a home and boost its curb appeal. The flat, unbroken surface also makes for a smooth trip to and from the garage for cars, bikes, skateboards and anything else on wheels. If you’re wondering just how long that beautiful asphalt paving job will last, well, let’s just say, you might be replacing your car before you need to replace the driveway if all goes as planned!

Asphalt will typically last upwards of 20 years before it needs to be replaced. This can vary based on a number of factors, including weather, usage and how well it’s maintained. Here are some of the factors that determine how long an asphalt paving job on a driveway will last.

What goes into construction for an asphalt driveway?

One of the reasons asphalt lasts so long is its construction. Asphalt, also called blacktop, comprises rock, sand and a tar-like adhesive called asphalt cement. The finished product includes nearly a foot of material to create a deep, durable surface.

Construction begins with a layer of compacted, granular fill that is 4 to 8 inches thick. This will give the driveway a solid, well-draining base. From there, it is topped with 2 to 3 inches of hot asphalt before being compacted by a heavy rolling machine. Modern construction techniques and materials allow an asphalt driveway to be driven on almost immediately after it is installed, as opposed to concrete, which takes several days to cure.

Maintenance and repair

As mentioned, an asphalt driveway will typically last up to 20 years with professional installation and proper maintenance. There are outside factors that can impact this, however, including weather. In extreme heat, asphalt can get soft and re-harden when things cool down. This cycle of softening and re-hardening can lead to cracks over time.

It doesn’t take much to maintain an asphalt driveway properly—but if it is not done, you will notice the wear and tear far earlier than that 20-year lifespan. The best way to get the most life out of an asphalt driveway is to clean it at least twice a year with a stiff broom and a strong spray hose. Once every three to five years, you should also coat it with an asphalt sealer using a driveway squeegee.

Asphalt will inevitably develop cracks or holes as part of normal wear and tear. This can (and should) be repaired as soon as possible with an asphalt-repair material or sealant that is appropriate for your driveway.

Another benefit of asphalt paving is that it does not show stains thanks to its naturally dark color. Drips and drops of oil and other liquids from working on a vehicle in your driveway can quickly tarnish the light color of concrete but are often overlooked on the forgiving darkness of asphalt.

When you’re looking for the best paving contractors for your new asphalt driveway, look no further than RoadBuilders. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.

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