10 Ways You Are Unknowingly Damaging Your Asphalt Driveway

Asphalt paving is now one of the top choices among driveway surfaces. This is because asphalt driveways are both functional and great to look at, thereby effortlessly improving a property’s curb appeal.

Additionally, a properly installed and well-maintained asphalt driveway can last for 12 to 20 years thereby giving homeowners several years of good use.

To maintain and prolong the functionality and look of your asphalt driveway, asphalt paving contractors say there are certain things you have to avoid doing which can cause damage to your driveway. These include:

#10 Allowing trees and other plants to grow too close to the driveway

Although trees and plants near your home are great to look at, make sure they don’t grow too close to your driveway. If you do, the growing roots will push against the foundation of the driveway and force the surface to give way. This will result in surface warps and cracks along your asphalt driveway.

You can avoid this problem by surrounding your driveway with tree root barriers which you can buy from gardening centers.

#9 Driving vehicles with studded tires over the driveway

During winter, using studded tires or snow tires with spikes is useful for getting around the snowy streets safely. However, these specialized tires can punch holes in your driveway. Asphalt driveways that are not well-maintained are particularly susceptible.

To preserve your driveway, avoid repetitive drives with these spikes on your paved road. Keep your driveway sealed properly as well.

#8 Sprinkling rock salt

If you haven’t been maintaining your driveway properly, avoid sprinkling rock salt on it to thaw the snow and ice.

Salt and water can easily penetrate asphalt surfaces that already have cracks, fissures, or other types of damage. The resulting freeze-thaw effect will also wreak havoc on your driveway. They can come in the form of bumps, potholes, and discoloration (surfaces with colors turning grey from black).

Experts say that if you want to use a de-icing agent on asphalt, use a milder product such as potassium chloride instead of rock salt.

#7 Shoveling the driveway

When you use a metal shovel to remove snow from your driveway, the metal blade will scratch away at the surface. And every time you shovel the driveway, you damage the asphalt surface as well.

You can minimize the damage your driveway receives whenever you shovel by using a plastic shovel instead. Additionally, avoid digging down with hard or sharp blows into the ice

#6 Letting water pool in the driveway

Water is one of the worst enemies of asphalt surfaces. The standing water can erode the stones that are held together by tar thereby causing hollows and puddles.

To protect your driveway from the harsh effects of water, remove any standing water immediately after washing your car or a heavy rainfall. Fill any cracks immediately and sealcoat the surface frequently. Lastly, if you are about to have your driveway installed, make sure it has a drainage plan.

#5 Not giving your driveway protection from UV rays

Protecting your driveway from the harsh effects of the sun can seem impossible unless you have it covered. This is because when the surface is hit by sunlight, the UV rays will oxidize the tar in asphalt causing it to weaken and break down. When this happens, the tar won’t be enough to hold the aggregate together, and you will eventually end up with just gravel.

Sealcoating the surface is the best way to protect your driveway from the harsh effects of the sun. Other options include microsurfacing and using slurry sealers.

#4 Parking heavy vehicles in the driveway

Heavy vehicles such as delivery trucks and RVs weigh a lot, and if they are constantly sitting in a particular area of your driveway, their weight will cause damage. The stress on the asphalt can cause cracks and the beginnings of potholes.

If you need to park heavy vehicles near your home, consider parking them on the street if it is allowed. If not, leave them in a paid parking lot.

#3 Leaving motor oil spills on the driveway

When motor oil is allowed to sit on top of asphalt for a long time, it will penetrate the surface and eventually start breaking it down from underneath. As the asphalt breaks down, it becomes more susceptible to cracks and crumbling which could lead to further damage.

As such, when your car leaks oil or you spilled some on the driveway, remove it and clean the area immediately.

#2 Failing to prevent driveway cracks from getting bigger

Asphalt driveway cracks can be caused by various factors including ground movement, soil erosion, excessive weight, and sun exposure. If you don’t fill these cracks immediately, they will become bigger. In addition, these cracks will allow water to penetrate under the asphalt surface causing more damage to your driveway.

 You can fill the cracks with a rubberized asphalt-emulsion crack filler. Make sure you sealcoat your asphalt surface as well for added protection.

#1 Improper installation

Lastly, a driveway that is poorly installed will always cause you a lot of headaches.

Shifty contractors are known for using light or poor-quality materials during construction to save money. When the asphalt become wet and undergoes the freeze-thaw cycles, the materials will expand and contract and put uneven pressure on your driveway.

 As such, before you have a driveway constructed or replaced, make sure you choose a reputable contractor that has a good track record of satisfying their customers.

To maintain the functionality and durability of your driveway, be aware of these bad practices or habits, and avoid doing them.

Regularly check your driveway as well and treat asphalt damage as soon as possible.


Ron Shattuck Jr. built Shattuck Paving into a trusted, reputable family business. Ron Jr. learned a lot about the industry and the hard work ethic that Ronald Sr. lived by, and has now followed in his father’s shoes to operate the company and help it grow. Today, Shattuck Paving is more determined than ever to serve their customers’ needs with integrity. No compromises!