Why Your Asphalt Driveway Looks Worn Out & What to Do About It

Construction & Contractors Blog

If you're embarrassed by your ugly asphalt driveway, then you should consider having it repaired. There are ways of fixing a worn down driveway that are more affordable than installing a new driveway. Here's why your driveway has deteriorated and how a contractor can make it look like new.

What Things Age Asphalt

Asphalt is durable, but weather conditions take a toll on it. UV rays are particularly damaging in that they can fade the color from rich black to pale gray. Your driveway may also have cracks and crumbles. Part of the reason cracks appear is because asphalt expands and contracts as the weather changes. Another thing that is hard on asphalt is the weight of vehicles that drive and park on your driveway.

Once a crack starts, it generally keeps spreading, plus rain seeps under the crack and helps create potholes. Stains can also make your driveway look bad. Oil and other fluid leaking from under your car can leave discolorations that are easily visible on old, faded asphalt.

How Damaged Asphalt Is Repaired

There does reach a point when a driveway is so damaged that the best option is to rip it out and put in a new one. However, this is usually only necessary when there are problems with drainage or the base wears away under the asphalt. Cracks and potholes can usually be repaired. They will probably be filled in by hand unless you have a large driveway with a lot of damage.

The cracks and holes are cleaned out first and then filled with crack filler that closes the cracks. Then, the filler is scraped to be level with the top of the driveway and allowed to cure. Repairing small cracks is easy to do, and it's a good idea to fill them yourself as part of your ongoing driveway maintenance. If you keep cracks filled as they form, you can prevent damage to your driveway and prolong its life.

How the Dark Color Is Applied

Filling in holes and cracks is necessary for preserving the structure of your driveway but it doesn't make it look much better. To do that, you'll want to restore the surface of your driveway to its original dark color. A residential asphalt company can do this in one of two ways. If it's determined that your driveway needs a new layer of asphalt, then it will be resurfaced. This involves spreading out a new layer of hot asphalt on top of your old driveway and letting it cure.

If your driveway is in good shape but just faded and discolored, then applying a sealcoat could be the solution. This goes on with a sprayer like spray paint. It is a dark coating that makes the asphalt black again and it also acts as a protective coating that blocks UV damage and rain.

While your asphalt driveway should last for many years, you'll need to have a new sealcoat put on every few years to keep your driveway dark and looking like new. The coating also protects your driveway and helps it last longer. With regular maintenance, your driveway will stay in good shape and you won't have to be embarrassed by a faded and cracked driveway again.

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