What do you think people notice first when they pull up to your home? Although you might work hard to keep your yard pristine and your porch tidy, a damaged driveway can be a red flag that your property needs a little tender loving care. Here are four strange things that might be harming your pavement and what you can do to prevent ongoing damage.
1. Mature Landscaping
Those gorgeous trees might be providing a boatload of shade to your home and yard, but they might also be destroying your driveway. As trees grow, their roots move outwards, breaking apart structures that happen to be in the way.
Because the ends of tree roots are exceptionally small and they tend to gravitate towards moisture, relief cracks in driveways naturally attract roots. As the roots continue to grow, they can break apart even the sturdiest driveway, making the entire surface unsafe.
Fortunately, you can prevent this kind of damage by keeping your landscaping in check. Keep trees well-pruned, and avoid planting new trees close to your home, driveway or sidewalks. Consider using a chemical root barrier near your driveway, inhibiting growth past a certain point.
2. Heavy Vehicles
Your paved driveway might seem rock-solid, but like any surface, it has small imperfections that are magnified with force. Unfortunately, if a heavy vehicle traverses your driveway, your concrete can break apart and start to settle unevenly, creating an unattractive look and an unstable driving surface.
Pay attention to which kinds of vehicles park or travel across your driveway, and don't be shy about prohibiting access to certain kinds of trucks or cars. For example, tractors, snowplows or delivery vehicles may be too heavy for your driveway to bear.
Additionally, try to avoid parking several cars on your driveway at the same time, especially on a permanent basis. Instead, park extra vehicles on things like gravel RV pads or on the street, where road damage isn't as likely.
3. Studded Tires
Those ATV or winter weather tires might make it easy to go off-roading or rip through a bad storm, but they can also destroy your driveway, especially if you have existing asphalt or concrete damage.
As asphalt ages, its binder becomes weaker, allowing aggregates to break free. Old or incorrectly mixed concrete can also break apart over time, making it easier for studded tires to exacerbate the damage.
If you use special tires on your car or recreational vehicles, try to avoid driving over your driveway. Instead, consider having the tires applied right before the season starts and then parking in a special place during the season to protect your investment.
4. Rock Salt
With winter weather fast approaching, many people are stocking up on supplies like rock salt, which add traction to driveways and help to melt away stubborn ice. Unfortunately, this additive is hard on concrete and asphalt because it increases the number of freeze/thaw cycles.
When rain and snow hit your driveway, they can penetrate the surface of the pavement through small cracks and then freeze. As water freezes, it expands significantly, blasting apart your driveway. The water can then thaw when the weather warms up, penetrate deeper, and then, freeze and expand again.
To prevent the number of times this happens, it is important to do your best to avoid using salt on your asphalt or concrete during the winter months. To improve traction without harming your pavement, consider sprinkling sand on top of snow and ice.
If you are wondering what to do about your damaged driveway, contact Black Jack Asphalt and Concrete. In addition to helping home and business owners with asphalt and concrete installation and repairs, we also offer sealcoating to keep your paved surfaces looking as good as new.