In the southeast region of the United States, it is common for winter weather to arrive a little later than other areas. The months of January through March tend to be the worst for freezing temperatures, especially in Georgia, where we tend to have more ice than snow. Today on the Uniform Paving & Seal Coating Tips & Solutions Blog, we are going to share our top tips for maintaining your driveway in winter.
Winter is Hard on Asphalt
It has happened more than once when a homeowner has gone into the winter months with a seamless driveway only to discover that in the spring, it has lost its luster. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on asphalt drives causing them to crack and start to deteriorate.
Tips to Maintain Your Driveway in Winter
- Avoid Chemical De-icing Solutions: Walking into your local home supply store will present you with many de-icing solutions in the winter, but don’t pick up the first thing you see. Many of the chemicals that melt ice quickly can also damage your asphalt, especially any containing rock salt. Instead, we suggest adding kitty litter or sand to improve traction on your driveway.
- Rubber-Bladed Snow Shovels: The surface of your asphalt driveway is brittle during freezing temperatures and can be damaged easily. When removing snow or ice, use either a plastic shovel or one that has a rubber blade; this will prevent you from making indentations that can grow into fractures.
- Check for Proper Drainage: Before any significant weather event, it is always a best practice to check that your driveway is draining correctly. If there are any debris blocking drainage locations, clear it so when the melting process begins, the water can leave faster.
- Watch Gutter Spouts: If the gutter spouts of your home are pointed towards your driveway, they can create black ice quickly. This can be a hazard not only to your vehicle but to yourself as well. If possible, point your gutter spouts in another direction.
- Double-Check Snow Plow Blades: If you do hire a contractor to remove snow for your drive, take precautions. Make sure that your contractor sets the blade to the proper height to ensure that they do not scrape the surface of your driveway.
- Clear Organic Debris: During the fall months, it is common for driveways to become littered with leaves, twigs, and other organic matter. When water collects in areas with litter, it retains moisture and prevents ice from freezing.
Prevent Winter Damage with Sealcoating
Another way to avoid winter weather damage is to take action before the colder months arrive and sealcoat your drive. Sealcoating your driveway replenishes the oil-based binder within your asphalt.
As we all know, oil and water do not mix, so sealcoating creates a watertight barrier to keep water from seeping into small cracks and divots. When water settles into these areas and freezes, it causes the already existing damage to widen. What may start out as a small crack that you don’t notice can quickly turn into a large one.
Sealcoating also gives your driveway a visible facelift and restores it back to its original color of deep black. On average most homeowners need to sealcoat their driveway every three to five years as regular maintenance. However, sealcoating cannot be applied in the winter because of the cold, or it will not bind. That is why we suggest sealcoating in spring and summer so the new binder will have time to adhere. Taking action before it gets cold could literally save your asphalt and prolong its lifespan.
Regardless of your current asphalt situation, Uniform Paving & Sealcoating is here to help you with all of your paving needs! If you find an issue has presented itself after the weather warms up, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free quote!