9 Tips For Maintaining Your Asphalt Driveway In Calgary

Jun 21, 2024

Living in a province like Alberta with a terribly cold 8 months of winter and extreme heat waves in the summer is hard on most things (including us!) – and asphalt driveways are no exception. While asphalt is a very durable and cost-effective choice for paving, it requires a little bit of TLC to extend its lifespan, especially in extreme-weather like we have here in Calgary. Let’s learn a little bit about why asphalt is the way to go in Alberta, why Calgary weather is so tough on all driveways, and how to maintain your asphalt driveway!

Why Asphalt Driveways Are The Best For Albertans

Asphalt is much more common than concrete in Northern regions. This is because of how pliable and forgiving it is compared to concrete when it comes to freeze and thaw cycles. Asphalt is also great if you live in a snowy province because of the dark black colour that soaks heat from the sun to melt snow much faster than any other driveway surface. Who doesn’t want that!?

Enemies Of Calgary Asphalt Driveways

There are many factors that can lead to the premature deterioration of your asphalt driveway. Some of the key stressors that can impact your driveway include;

  • Heavy equipment and vehicles causing cracks
  • Still water causing the asphalt to break down
  • UV rays causing discolouration
  • Temperature fluctuations causing asphalt shrinkage
  • A lack of support at the pavement edge causing edge cracking
  • Grass and weeds growing between cracks and widening them
  • Tree roots causing cracks and bumps
  • Oils causing crumbling

So How Do You Protect & Maintain Your Asphalt Driveway in Calgary?

Below we will outline some proactive steps that you can take to protect your asphalt driveway from unnecessary damage, as well as how to maintain your driveway with the regular wear and tear of aging asphalt.

The First Year

Asphalt requires 1-3 days to fully set before vehicles should be allowed on the surface, however, it takes approximately one year for asphalt to fully cure. It is important to be cautious and gentle with your new asphalt driveway for the first year that you have it to avoid any permanent damage. A few guidelines you can follow for the first year with you new Calgary asphalt driveway are;

  1. Avoid placing objects with pointed touch points on the driveway (tables, chairs, barbecues, etc.).
  2. Be careful when driving to avoid sharp turns, power steering divots, sudden stops, and sudden accelerations.
  3. Do not allow heavy objects or machinery (other than vehicles) on the driveway, such as dump trucks, tractors, heavy equipment, storage containers, etc.

Continuous Maintenance & Considerations

After this first year and beyond, there are a few considerations you should be adding to your outdoor-chores list to ensure that your driveway is always being kept in ideal conditions to avoid unwarranted damage. Some things to consider throughout the year include;

Keeping It Clean

  • Keep it clear of debris and rocks all the time with brooms and hoses
  • Remove spills as soon as they happen because they can stain and weaken the asphalt

Yearly Maintenance

  • Seal-coat the asphalt every 2 to 5 years for an appealing, water-resistant surface that is protected from extreme weather
    • In a harsh climate such as Calgary, it may be wise to seal-coat your driveway even more often
  • Repair cracks and holes as soon as possible – at least once a year
  • Clean the driveway at least 2 times a year, even more if you salt your driveway in the winter to avoid discolouring
  • Use a strong hose to remove dirt and debris (but not a pressure washer!)

Keep Clear Of Water

Water is an enemy of asphalt. Water that collects in cracks and dips in asphalt have the potential to do serious damage, especially in freezing temperatures. A few of the damages caused by moisture in asphalt include cracking, stripping, rutting, bleeding, and adhesive failures. A few solutions to prevent water pooling on your Calgary asphalt driveway include;

  • Clean your gutters to prevent overflowing onto your driveway
  • Crack filling
  • Pavement repairs
  • Asphalt patching
  • Seal-coating

Fight Grass & Weeds

Grass, weeds, and other growth in your Calgary asphalt driveway can be detrimental to the lifespan of your pavement. Grass and weeds have the tendency to grow between cracks, causing them to expand and widen. A few proactive solutions to preventing growth in cracks (other than filling the cracks and the solutions listed above) are to;

  • Add driveway edge trimming to your regular chores list to avoid grass and weeds growing through
  • Clear your of grass clippings right away – you don’t want seeds to grow in the cracks!
  • Kill grass and weeds right away with an environmentally safe weed killer to avoid cracks getting larger
  • Add a border on either side of your driveway to act as a ‘wall’ deterrent for grass and weeds with a cement border or with gravel or topsoil along the sides are both effective solutions

Winter Considerations

  • Be wary of shovelling that can scar and scrape the asphalt
  • Do not allow heavy snow plow equipment on the driveway
  • Salt can lead to discolouration of the asphalt so remember to clean it well when the snow melts

Physical Damage

  • Avoid parking your car on the asphalt on extremely hot days
  • Do not allow large machinery or heavy objects on your driveway
  • Avoid sudden starts or stops when driving on the driveway
  • Don’t drive off of the edges of the driveway to avoid crumbling

Know When To Call A Professional

There is a lot of work on your driveway that you can do yourself! Edge trimming, cleaning, and minor crack filling are a few of the steps you can take to maintain your Calgary asphalt driveway and extend its lifespan. However, there are many circumstances in which the help of a professional paving company will help you to best maintain your driveway. A few of the services that you should consider consulting with a Calgary asphalt paving specialist for are;

  • Resurfacing
  • Repair
  • Seal-coating
  • Crack-sealing
  • Removal
  • Installation

Having your driveway paved is a large investment and requires special care, however the benefits of a paved driveway are immense. Increased house value, reduced dirt and mud being tracked into your home, and less damage to vehicles are just a few of the many benefits. Are you ready to upgrade to an asphalt driveway for your home? Contact us today!