When you invest the money to install an asphalt driveway or other paved surface at your home, you likely will want to make sure it remains in good condition for as long as possible. Here are three tips to help you make sure your asphalt driveway will last many years and not degrade and fail before its time.

Install It Right

A large part of making sure you asphalt pavement is strong and lasts as long as possible is in how it is installed. A durable asphalt layer should have a base layer of compacted gravel several inches thick, depending on the drainage properties of the soil it is installed upon. This base layer of gravel helps the asphalt remain flexible and also aids moisture flow below its surface to prevent freeze-thaw problems during winter.

Your asphalt also needs to be installed in a manner that allows moisture and water to drain from its surface. This can be accomplished by finishing the surface of your asphalt so it has a middle ridge that is slightly higher than the surrounding surfaces, which slope toward the sides of the asphalt. For example, if you have an asphalt driveway, the middle of the driveway should be a bit higher and the sides slope downward. This slope is slight so that it is not evident by looking at the driveway, but will make sure water does not pond and puddle on the asphalt's surface.

Keep It Protected

It is recommended to restore the moisture and waterproof layer to your asphalt by applying a sealcoating layer every few years. This coats the asphalt with a tar emulsion and restores its flexibility, fills small holes and cracks, and coats any sun oxidation damage to the surface of the pavement.

Depending on the climate you live in and how fast your asphalt is losing its color, you may need to apply a sealcoating more often or less often. Watch the condition of your asphalt for excess drying-out and cracking of your asphalt to determine how soon you should have it sealed.

Clean It

Keeping your asphalt free of vehicle fluids is important for maintaining its durability. Many vehicle fluids are petroleum based or contains additives that break down the emulsion in asphalt, which is responsible for holding the gravel together and keeping the asphalt solid. When fluids are left on the surface, they eat away at the pavement and break it apart, resulting in pitting and unraveling of the gravel.

As soon as a fluid spills occurs on your asphalt, clean it from the asphalt. You can sprinkle kitty litter onto a spill to absorb a majority of the fluid, then use an asphalt cleaner or a liquid dish soap and a scrub brush to lift the fluid from the asphalt. Follow this up by spraying clean the fluids and cleaner completely from the asphalt.