Whether your driveway is made of concrete or asphalt, potholes can become a problem if care isn't taken to avoid them. Potholes don't develop overnight, so there is plenty of warning of the impending problem if you know what signs to look for. Repairing these small issues now can help avoid the formation of potholes and more extensive damage.
1. Standing Water
A properly constructed driveway should not be prone to standing water after a rain storm. Standing water indicates a low spot, which could be the result of uneven settling or poor base construction. Asphalt drives may also have low spots or divots caused by uneven weight distribution, such as from a jack stand. These low spots can lead to potholes over time, as the standing water erodes the paving. Freeze and thaw cycles can speed up the pothole-forming process.
On asphalt driveways it is sometimes possible to apply a hot patch to level out a low spot. Another option, which works for both concrete and asphalt, is to install a drain in the low area so water doesn't collect.
2. Ice Melt Products
Certain ice melting products can also lead to potholes. Rock salt, in particular, is very harmful to concrete paving. The salt reacts with minerals in the concrete and pits form. Water then collects in these pits, where it can then freeze and expand. The result is a pothole.
Never use pure salt to melt ice, and use other ice melting products sparingly. It's a good idea to sweep up the excess once the ice melts so that the chemicals are left sitting on the driveway. If pitting does occur, you may need to have the concrete surface ground down and the driveway repaved.
Cracks form for a variety of reasons, and they can develop into potholes if ignored. Weight and temperature stresses can crack any type of paving. Cracks can also form as the driveway settles or due to poor drainage around the drive. Plants, such as tree roots, may also cause cracks. Small cracks become larger as dirt and small plants take root in them and force the paving further apart.
Patch cracks as soon as you notice them. Asphalt cracks are typically repaired with a hot patching material. You can then sealcoat over the drive to camouflage the cracks. Concrete can also be patched, but the repairs are more noticeable. A noticeable repair is still a better option than a crumbling driveway, though.
Contact a residential paving contractor, like those Northern Asphalt LLC, for more help.