Your driveway will go through a lot of changes from the time it’s new to the day you have to replace it. Each stage requires a different plan of action and the list below will help steer you in the right direction.
Stage 1: Preventative Maintenance
For the first few years, your driveway will only need preventative maintenance, sealcoating and crack filling every other year. Your driveway will stay in Stage 1 for as long as the cracks are not interconnected (alligatoring) and are not accompanied by settlement. Find a good local Sealcoater that will provide a written estimate.
Stage 2: Surface or Base Defects
Your driveway has entered Stage 2 when sealcoating and crack filling alone will not take care of the problem areas. The driveway may have settled at the garage or curb (very common) or developed spider/alligator cracking or potholes. At this point, you’ll need an asphalt repair to get your surface back in shape. Call an asphalt repair company that can either perform infrared repair or saw cut and remove repairs. Then every other year sealcoating and crack filling regimen mentioned in stage 1 should continue throughout stage 2.
Stage 3: Replacement or Resurfacing
When 20% or more of your driveway is in poor condition, it’s probably time for a new surface. At this point, repairs are no longer a cost-effective alternative. If you find yourself saying my driveway has potholes, cracking or settlement all over, it’s time to start over with a new driveway. Call a paving contractor and ask them whether you need complete removal and replacement or if resurfacing over your existing surface may be an option. There are certain circumstances that can make a case for repairing a driveway that’s in very bad shape. You may not have budgeted for a new driveway, but have some areas that can’t wait. In that case, just repair the very worst areas to get you by until a new driveway is in the budget.
A typical driveway will last 10-15 years, but this can vary due to the quality of the initial installation, poor drainage, ground movement, and proper maintenance. The key is to find quality contractors that will recommend the right process for your driveway’s condition, regardless of whether they provide that service or not.