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If you are looking to install a new driveway for your home or business, asphalt is a great choice. Asphalt has become one of the most popular choices for driveways because it offers many benefits that are not available with other materials. For example, asphalt provides excellent skid resistance, which makes it extremely safe to drive on when wet or icy weather conditions are present.
This article will discuss the main facts about asphalt and some of the major pros and cons of choosing this material for your new driveway.
Asphalt Driveway Materials and Installation
Asphalt is not a single material; rather, it is manufactured by combining many ingredients that are heated to extremely high temperatures. The primary ingredient in asphalt is aggregate; small rocks, sand, crushed stone, or recycled materials like fiberglass are added to the mix. When the mixture cools, it forms an exceptionally durable paving material called pavement. The asphalt then begins to harden, and the final product has the appearance of blacktop or tarmac.
Though there are other options for driveways, asphalt continues to be one of the most popular choices because it provides homeowners with several benefits, including durability and cost-effectiveness. Another advantage of asphalt is it can be used on almost any surface, including hillsides and steep grades where stable surfaces need to be created quickly and easily. It can even be used to seal and repair existing surfaces that are starting to fail, especially if the job is small.
Pros of Choosing an Asphalt Driveway
1. Durability - Asphalt driveways are extremely durable, and they can last for several years without repair. If your driveway is exposed to high levels of moisture or environmental conditions that are particularly harsh, you should have it resealed every few years to extend its life further.
2. Low-maintenance - While asphalt requires very little upkeep, there are a few important maintenance steps you must take in order to ensure the driveway remains properly sealed and safe for use all year round. These include keeping it free of oil stains, tire marks, anthills, vegetation growths, and other debris; this will help prevent damage caused by water seepage or chemical reactions with the materials used in the installation process
3. Cost-effective - Compared to other driveway materials like concrete, asphalt is very affordable, and its cost-effectiveness makes it a popular choice for most homeowners.
4. Stylish - Asphalt comes in several styles and colors that can customize the overall look of your driveway to match your home's exterior design choices like brick or stone pavers. You can also add small decorative elements such as colored borders or stripes with different types of surfacing materials available from your manufacturer.
5. Smooth Surface - Another benefit of choosing blacktop over other materials is the fact that it provides you with a smooth surface that is safe and comfortable for driving on without producing too much noise pollution. For example, this can be helpful when loose stones or debris become stuck in tires or undercarriages grind against the surface below during rain or snowstorms.
6. Flexibility - You can easily manipulate asphalt surfaces to meet your desired specifications. You can even repair cracks or separations without removing the entire driveway by following a few simple steps. For example, suppose there is a separation in an existing surface. In that case, it will need to be removed and filled with thickened material before the final application of hot asphalt is laid over the top and compacted using a rolling machine. If this method does not work, the contractor may have to remove and replace part of it with new materials. However, this should come at no extra cost as long as they are simply filling in cracks or small holes rather than digging out old material, which would require them to tear up most of your driveway anyway.
7. Keeps a Good Temperature - Another benefit of choosing blacktop is its ability to keep the surface underneath from getting too hot or cold during warm or cold seasons. This makes them especially popular in climates that experience drastic changes between winter and summer temperatures, as well as regions where snowfall, rain, sleet, and hail are common occurrences.
8. Long-lasting - Asphalt driveways typically last 10 to 20 years before they start showing signs of wear like cracking, peeling, and small holes. Suppose you want to extend the life of your driveway even further. In that case, you can choose a specialized system designed for high-traffic areas like commercial lots in addition to taking care not to leave large deposits of oil in the same place on the surface for an extended period of time without completely cleaning it off before reapplication.
Cons Of Choosing Asphalt Driveway
1. Limited styles and colors - Compared to other driveway materials like concrete, asphalt is much more limited in terms of style and color because it only comes in black. It also dulls over time when exposed to sunlight which can make them look unattractive. However, if you choose a colored border or add paint stripes to your asphalt surface, it will be easier to reduce this negative effect caused by UV rays.
2. Unappealing visual appearance - Another drawback of choosing asphalt for your driveway is that cracks and distortions are more noticeable because they have a thinner layer of topcoat material compared to other choices. If you find yourself constantly staring at these imperfections day after day, then you may want to consider a paver-style driveway installed with concrete instead.
3. Can get hot in warm weather - If you live in a region that experiences high temperatures throughout the summer, you may want to consider other surface material options like concrete or stone, which both absorb less heat and are therefore cooler on your feet after walking across them for extended periods of time. Although asphalt will naturally chill off during the night when it cools down outside, this isn't always enough to make up for how uncomfortable it can be to walk across during the day while its temperature is elevated so high above room temperature.
4. Requires regular maintenance - Another drawback is that you have to regularly maintain your asphalt driveway by regularly applying new layers of sealant every 1-3 years, depending on environmental factors that contribute to wear and tear, such as heavy rains, high winds, and so on. A neglected driveway may start to show signs of cracking within the first few months after installation. It will only become more pronounced over time until it starts to look unsightly or even hazardous.
5. Not good for steep driveways - If your home is located in a region where snow frequently falls and accumulates on driveways, then you should choose another surface material because asphalt just wasn't designed to stand up against the weight of snow and ice that accumulates during winter months. It can also become slippery when wet, which makes driving dangerous, if not downright impossible, without having control over your vehicle at all times.
6. Can be costly - Finally, it's important to note that asphalt is one of the most costly surface materials available on the market today, which can make it prohibitive for some homeowners to use if they have a limited budget. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that asphalt driveways are always more expensive than other surfaces because factors like size, installation methods, including replacing or resurfacing instead of new installation, and others will all play into how much your final bill ends up being.
When choosing a new material for your driveway, one of the most important things you can do is weigh all of the pros and cons before deciding what kind to use.
Will an asphalt driveway be a good choice for your household? Only you can make that final call by weighing all of the positive features against the negative ones in order to determine if applying this particular surface material is right for you.