Your driveway is a critical part of your home, so it’s important to keep it in good shape.

While asphalt driveways provide superior longevity and durability, they still require maintenance. 

Fortunately, we’re here to help you care for yours. 

We’ve been a trusted local asphalt contractor since 1958, and we’re here to provide actionable tips to help you preserve the quality of your driveway.

Key Takeaways

  • To maintain your asphalt driveway, follow basic maintenance tips like cleaning and sealcoating it regularly and fixing problems like cracks and sinkholes as soon as you notice them.
  • Address other types of damage, like spills on freshly re-paved asphalt or severe potholes, accordingly. 
  • For professional help with your asphalt maintenance, contact an asphalt paving contractor like Betz Works. 

Before You Get Started

  • Block off the driveway. Block access to your driveway to give yourself a clear workspace, and then perform a thorough visual inspection. Look for signs of wear, like potholes, cracks, and uneven areas, which may indicate underlying issues.
  • Consider whether it’s a DIY job. Some tasks are easy enough to do yourself, but it’s always wise to consider the benefits of professional help, especially for significant repairs. When examining your driveway, look for minor cracks and surface wear. Generally, you can fix these things via a DIY approach with crack fillers and sealant. However, if there are multiple deep potholes, extensive cracking, or issues that suggest a compromised foundation, you’ll need to hire a pro like Betz Works to complete the repairs. Hiring experts is especially crucial when structural problems are present, as these typically require specialized equipment and expertise to ensure a safe and lasting fix.

Maintaining Freshly Re-Paved Asphalt

maintaining freshly re-paved asphalt

1. Let it Cure

The first 24 hours are the most critical, as the asphalt needs time to cure. During this period, keep vehicles, bicycles, and foot traffic off the new surface to avoid any marks or damage.

Pro tip: Use caution tape or barricades to block off your asphalt driveway during the crucial first 24 hours of curing. This will help prevent any accidental marks or damage from vehicles, bicycles, or foot traffic. Safety first!

2. Prioritize Routine Maintenance

Once the asphalt has cured, implement a maintenance routine that includes regular cleaning. 

Debris like leaves, dirt, and rocks, can be abrasive and may cause premature wear. Use a broom or blower to keep your driveway clean. 

In the case of spills, especially from oil or gasoline, address them quickly using appropriate cleaning solutions to prevent staining and deterioration of the asphalt.

3. Sealcoat regularly

Sealcoating should be considered within the first year after paving and every 2-3 years thereafter as a preventive measure. 

Sealcoating protects against UV rays, water penetration, and chemical corrosion. 

Be mindful that the timing of these applications is essential; the sealer must be applied in favorable weather conditions, typically during warmer and drier months, to ensure proper adhesion and effectiveness. 

Pro tip: Hire a professional for routine sealcoating services. Professionals have the right equipment and materials that ensure a smooth, even application, protecting your asphalt from oxidation, oil spills, and water penetration. 

This saves you money in the long run by preventing costly repairs and replacements, making it a wise investment for property value and curb appeal.

Preventive Maintenance

1. Keep it Clean

Your driveway faces daily exposure to vehicles, weather, and debris. Remove loose dirt and debris by sweeping or washing the asphalt surface to keep it in prime condition.

2. Fill the Cracks

Crack filling goes a long way in preventing minor cracks from turning into large crevices. Filling these cracks before they lead to more severe damage is essential. 

Pro tip: Use a liquid crack filler or asphalt patching compound to seal the cracks and prevent water from seeping in.

3. Prevent Gasoline and Oil Stains

Gasoline and oil stains are not just an eyesore; they can lead to significant deterioration of asphalt over time. 

These substances dissolve the binders that hold the asphalt together, causing it to become brittle and more susceptible to damage, such as cracks and potholes. 

To prevent these stains, promptly clean any spills using absorbent materials and a specialized asphalt cleaner. 

If you have a vehicle that leaks fluids, park it on a protective mat to prevent stains before they happen. 

4. Protect Your Driveway Edges

Protecting the edges of your asphalt driveway is critical to prevent crumbling and structural compromise. 

Pro tips:

  • Ensure the edges are well-supported by backfilling with topsoil or a sturdy aggregate material. 
  • Avoid driving over the edges, as the weight of a vehicle can cause cracking and breakdown over time. 
  • Use landscape edging to create a barrier that fortifies the sides and adds a polished look to your driveway’s overall presentation.

5. Removing Standing Water

Standing water is a primary adversary for asphalt surfaces, including driveways. 

It can seep into even minor cracks or pores in the asphalt, and when temperatures drop, the water expands as it freezes, exacerbating any existing damage. 

Over time, this cycle of freezing and thawing can cause significant structural damage, leading to potholes and compromised surfaces that may necessitate costly repairs.

To prevent this, ensure that your driveway has proper drainage and that any low spots are filled with compacted asphalt or gravel. If water pools on the asphalt surface, use a push broom to remove it. 

6. Sealcoating

Sealcoating provides a protective layer against the elements. The frequency of application depends on your climate and the wear your driveway experiences. 

In areas with harsh winters or high traffic, sealcoating may need to be applied more frequently. 

For best results, consult the pros at Betz Works for advice on when and how often to seal coat your driveway. 

7. Seasonal Maintenance

Take proactive measures to protect your asphalt depending on the season:

  • Summer heat can soften asphalt, so it’s wise to cool it down with periodic washings. 
  • Protect your asphalt from winter’s freezing temperatures by winterizing the surface.

8. Get rid of Weeds

Weed growth around an asphalt driveway is not just an aesthetic concern; it’s a structural one. 

Weeds can force their way through tiny cracks and expand them as they grow, undermining the integrity of the asphalt. 

Roots can push upward, causing further separation and cracks, which open the door to more extensive damage from water infiltration and subsequent freeze-thaw cycles. Timely weed removal is, therefore, critical to prevent minor cosmetic blemishes from becoming major, costly repairs.

Corrective Maintenance

driveway corrective maintenance

1. Fill Cracks and Potholes

Fill any potholes with an appropriate asphalt patching material to level the surface and restore the structural integrity.

2. Resurface the Asphalt as Needed

For extensive damage, resurfacing may be necessary. This process involves applying a new layer of asphalt over the existing driveway.

3. Ensure Proper Drainage

Standing water can degrade asphalt. Correct any drainage issues to prevent water accumulation.

Pro Tip: To ensure proper drainage off of asphalt driveways, maintain a minimum gradient of 1% away from your house or garage. 

This slope will guide water to drain to the sides or bottom of the driveway, reducing the risk of water pooling and seeping into the foundation. 

Additionally, consider installing a channel drain across the driveway’s entrance if you live in an area with heavy rainfall, to further combat water accumulation. Regularly check and clear these channels to prevent blockages that can lead to improper drainage.

4. Repair Compromised Edges

Reinforce the driveway’s edges to prevent crumbling and maintain a clean border.

5. Repair Damaged Trenches

If the driveway is affected by heavy vehicles causing rut or trench formations, these must be filled and leveled. This will not only improve the appearance of the driveway, but also prevent further damage and potential hazards.

6. Consider Overlaying or Regrading 

When the driveway surface is broadly worn, but the foundation is still solid, overlaying with a new asphalt layer can be a viable option.

Regrade your driveway if needed to ensure a proper slope, which will facilitate water runoff and prevent damage.

Emergency Maintenance

emergency driveway maintenance

1. Severe Pothole Repair

Urgently fill and compact any large potholes that pose immediate hazards to vehicles or pedestrians. 

A large pothole typically has a diameter greater than 6 inches and a depth exceeding 2 inches.

2. Large Crack Containment

Use epoxy or polyurethane-based sealants to temporarily seal extensive cracks and prevent further expansion until a permanent repair can be made. 

3. Flooding Response

Quickly address any occurrence of flooding to prevent asphalt erosion or substrate damage. Use sandbags, squeegees, or pumps to remove excess water and minimize potential harm.

4. Snow and Ice Removal

Efficient removal of snow and ice is crucial to reduce slip hazards and prevent surface damage caused by freeze-thaw cycles. 

When clearing snow from asphalt driveways, using a snow shovel or snow blower with a rubber or plastic blade is important since it will allow you to avoid scratching or damaging the surface. 

Pro tip: Applying a de-icer specifically designed for asphalt surfaces can also help melt the ice without harming the driveway. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid using harsh chemicals or metal tools that can cause further damage to the asphalt.

5. Emergency Drainage Fixes

Temporarily redirect standing water, such as water that accumulates due to drainage failure, to protect the underlying substrate until permanent corrections can be implemented. 

This proactive measure helps to prevent potential damage and allows for efficient mitigation of drainage issues.

6. Subgrade Stabilization

To address surface failure issues, homeowners should focus on stabilizing any compromised areas of the subgrade. 

This involves identifying and reinforcing weak points in the underlying foundation to ensure long-term stability and prevent further damage.

7. Sinkhole Remediation

In the event of a sinkhole, emergency remediation is necessary to secure the structural integrity of asphalt driveways and guarantee safety. 

The process typically starts with a thorough assessment by professionals to ascertain the extent of the subsurface collapse. The hole is then filled with a stabilizing material, such as a flowable fill or compacted soil, to prevent further expansion. 

Final repairs might include the cutting out affected asphalt, refilling, compacting, and repaving to ensure the driveway is safely navigable and aesthetically consistent with the surrounding area.

Need Professional Asphalt Maintenance Services in Santa Cruz County? We Can Help!

If you’re in Santa Cruz County and need expert asphalt maintenance services, Betz Works is here to assist. 

Contact us today to learn more about our services or how we can help you repair and maintain your asphalt surface. 


1. How often do you need to maintain asphalt?

Asphalt maintenance frequency can vary depending on factors like climate, traffic volume, and the quality of the initial installation. 

Generally, it’s recommended to perform an inspection of the asphalt at least once a year, with minor repairs as needed. 

Seal coating is advisable every 2-3 years to extend the asphalt’s lifespan and to maintain its resilience against the elements and wear. 

Regular cleaning and prompt repair of any small cracks can also prevent larger issues, ultimately saving time and money in long-term maintenance.

2. Does asphalt need to be sealed every year?

Asphalt does not necessarily need to be sealed every year; it typically depends on the condition of the surface and the level of traffic. 

Most experts recommend sealing asphalt driveways every two to five years to maintain its integrity and appearance. 

However, it’s important to inspect your asphalt regularly, as environmental factors like extreme temperatures and heavy usage can accelerate wear and may necessitate more frequent sealing.

3. What happens if you don’t seal asphalt?

If asphalt is not properly sealed, it is susceptible to damage from various elements. Unsealed asphalt can undergo oxidation, which causes it to become brittle and develop cracks. 

Water can seep into these cracks and, under varying temperatures, expand and contract, leading to larger fissures and even potholes. 

Additionally, oils and other chemicals can penetrate unsealed asphalt, further degrading the integrity of the surface. 

Over time, this leads to increased maintenance costs and a shorter lifespan for the pavement.

4. What affects asphalt durability?

Asphalt durability can be influenced by several factors, including the quality of the asphalt mix, the environment, and the level of traffic exposure. 

High-quality asphalt mixes with appropriate binders can resist weather-related damage and heavy loads. 

Environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, water infiltration, and UV radiation can degrade the asphalt over time. 

Additionally, constant heavy traffic can cause wear and tear, leading to rutting, cracking, and other forms of distress. Proper installation and timely maintenance are crucial for extending the lifespan of asphalt pavements.