Your new drive is made from asphalt, a mixture of hard aggregate mixed together with bitumen, a flexible, black, waterproof substance derived from crude oil. There are many types of asphalt that can be used, the more common being Close-graded or Dense based macadam, Hot Rolled Asphalt and Stone mastic asphalt. Some of these are stronger and more durable than others, but the same basic principles apply to looking after all of them.
Because your drive is black it can absorb heat in sunny weather and become quite hot. Under these conditions the bitumen binding agent becomes much softer and the surface area becomes more prone to scuffing from tyres and indentations from ladders, car jacks, axle stands etc. scuffing is usually only superficial and will largely disappear in time.
It is sensible to take care not to overstress the surface in hot weather, particularly by the sharp turning of wheels with power steering when the vehicle is not moving as this can scuff the surface. This is particularly important after laying and in the first year of the life of your new driveway as it will be black and shiny and prone to soften more easily. As it ages the surface will harden and go lighter in colour so the risk of damage will reduce, however there is always a risk of damage in very hot weather. Try to refrain from driving your car onto your new driveway for the first 3 – 5 days after its been laid and always remember to put a paving slab or piece of plywood etc. under the jockey wheel of trailers, caravans or base of a ladder to spread the load over a greater area to reduce the chance of creating an indentation of the driveway surface.
Bitumen bound surfaces are resistant to small oil droppings but can soften and damage by large spillages of oil. The oil will then dissolve into the bitumen binder and cause it to soften. If oil spillages do occur then absorb it up as soon as possible using sawdust, sand or absorbent granules that are available from most motor factors. If oil has already penetrated the asphalt then try and keep traffic off it as long as possible to give it time to evaporate away, petrol will evaporate quite quickly but Diesel and engine or gearbox oil may take months. These spillages will leave marks but should disappear and blend back with the rest in time. Care should be taken when trying to wash away any marks and only water based solutions should be used with lukewarm water and a brush. If gardening chemicals are spilled onto the surface then simply washing it away with large quantities of water is recommended.
Older drives may be prone to the growth of weeds through the asphalt, firstly kill this off using a leaf acting weed killer, do not pull the roots out as this can damage the driveway, scrape away any dead foliage and treat with a water based root weed killer. If you intend to store topsoil or sand etc. on your drive it is advised to use a plastic sheet underneath but if it is stored directly on the driveway then simply brush off the excess when dry any remainder can then be removed with water and a stiff brush. For any query or information please call our office on 01834 860464.