What a Homeowner Needs to Know About Having a New Asphalt Driveway Installed

An asphalt driveway can be a very durable and long-lasting choice for any home; asphalt will also help absorb noise from nearby traffic and provides added traction against rain, snow, and ice. Asphalt is also often much cheaper than concrete, making it a good option for a homeowner on a budget. If you're thinking of getting an asphalt driveway installed outside your home, note a few considerations to keep in mind so you can ensure you know what's involved in the installation process.

Asphalt still needs to be seal-coated

Asphalt is very durable and strong and should last several years, but it still needs to be seal-coated every year or every few years, as per your installer's recommendations. A coat of sealant can mean protecting the top layer of asphalt from water build-up, so that the material doesn't soften and crack. Seal-coating can also protect asphalt from oil that might drip from your car, and oil actually breaks down the material of asphalt itself. Sealant also protects the asphalt from hot sunlight, from getting torn up by heavy vehicles, and other damage that could cause the surface or the material itself to crack, split, or spall.

You can layer asphalt, but not always

If you already have an asphalt driveway outside your home, you can often have a new layer of asphalt applied over the old asphalt, to fill in cracks and crevices and cover any spalling on the surface. However, note that asphalt that is too thick may be more prone to cracking and shifting, and sinking into the soil. Your installer can determine the thickness of your current asphalt and if it's strong enough to hold a new layer, or has too many cracks and chunks and wouldn't provide a secure and solid base.

Your property does need prep work

Even if you already have an asphalt driveway and are looking to just have a new layer put over the old, your property may need some prep work, and even more so for an entirely new driveway. This prep work can include grading the property and even the current driveway, to ensure proper water runoff. An old driveway or fresh soil may need to be compacted, to provide a solid foundation for the asphalt. For installing an asphalt driveway over fresh soil, gravel may need to be added to help keep that soil and the new driveway's foundation firm and solid.