Driveways play an important role in making your home accessible, safe, and beautiful. They are the first noticeable feature of your house and are used several times a day. This means a damaged driveway can drastically affect the appeal and value of the property.
Driveways are either paved or built using concrete or bitumen. Unlike paved or concrete driveways, bitumen ones are weather-resistant and durable. Although highly durable, they are also susceptible to cracks and damage. This means you have to be vigilant and take measures to protect the driveway.
Before deciding on the steps to keep the driveway in perfect condition, it is necessary to understand the factors that cause damage to it. There are numerous aspects that can affect the health of the bitumen driveway. It is crucial to have a thorough knowledge of each one of them so that you can easily identify it whenever damage occurs.
Causes of bitumen driveway damage
There are two major reasons for any damage happening to your bitumen driveway:
- problems from below the surface of the driveway
- problems on the surface of the driveway
Damage from underneath the surface of the driveway
These issues are extremely difficult to identify. They can be discerned properly only after they manifest. The issue will have been exacerbated by then and in most cases will require the knowledge of an expert to repair it. Some issues arising from underneath the surface of the driveway include:
- Tree roots
The roots of trees can lead to fractures and cracks in the bitumen driveway. The tree roots can push the bitumen driveway up. This will cause the driveway to stretch beyond its safe limits. This stretching will result in cracks. You will also be able to see dips and bumps forming in the driveway, which can then cause water pooling.
- Improper installation
Before building the bitumen driveway, it is necessary to properly flatten the soil and compact it. This should be done before you pour the asphalt. Otherwise, the asphalt will crack and your driveway will be damaged as it tries to adjust to the movements in the soil.
The amount of moisture in the soil also plays an important role in the health of your driveway. Too little or too much moisture is disadvantageous. The bitumen can get either be pushed up or become unsupported based on the moisture content, leading to cracks and damage.
- Soil erosion
The soil underneath the bitumen driveway can shift owing to natural phenomena like contraction and expansion. This is caused by seasonal variations. The soil can also shift owing to degradation from some other source. Brisbane Bitumen driveways are capable of withstanding some number of shifts. But, the driveway can incur some damage if these shifts are significant or continuous.
Damage from the top or surface of the driveway
The surface of your driveway is exposed round the clock to the natural elements and vehicles. This makes it susceptible to wear and tear. There are numerous factors influencing the damage from the surface, including:
- Heavy loads
The amount of weight supported by your driveway regularly is a deciding factor in its lifespan. A driveway that supports only light loads like cars or motorcycles may not suffer from cracks easily. But driveways supporting heavy vehicles like trucks or construction vehicles can get damaged easily, especially if they are parked for prolonged periods of time.
- Excessive moisture
Lack of adequate surface finishing and unevenness can cause water to pool on the surface of the driveway. This will result in infiltration, causing the composite to separate, forming cracks.
Methods to prevent damage to the driveway
Once you know the ways in which your driveway can be damaged, you can take the necessary actions to prevent it. Some of them include:
Allow proper drainage
Since moisture is a culprit that can cause extensive damage to your driveway, you should take measures to avoid water pooling on the surface. This can be done by installing a good drainage system that will prevent water from seeping into the soil and upsetting its moisture levels.
Reduce the load
As far as possible, restrict heavy vehicles from entering your driveway, especially if your bitumen driveway is not equipped to withstand the load. If such a circumstance is unavoidable, then decrease the number of times the driveway is used to park or drive heavy vehicles.
Clean your driveway
Regularly sweeping and cleaning your driveway is important. It will help you to remove moisture, dirt, and debris that can cause cracking and chipping.
Ways to repair your damaged bitumen driveway
Even after careful supervision and maintenance, your driveway might suffer damage due to some reason. If this happens, the first thing to do is to analyse the extent and severity of the damage. Then you can decide on the best way to repair the damage.
Repair method when the bitumen cracking is minimal
If the cracks on the driveway are really small and few, then you can repair them easily by yourself. You can use a store-bought driveway or road crack filler to fill the cracks.
Before starting the repair, carefully read all the instructions given on the product and follow them correctly. Once the filter sets, it is advisable to add a sealing coating to it.
You can also resurface the driveway with the help of a professional company and give it a new look.
Repair method when the bitumen cracking is partial and extensive
In this case, it is unnecessary to replace the entire driveway. You can repair and rebuild those parts of your driveway that are affected. You can get the help of a repair specialist to do the reconstruction work.
Repair method when the bitumen cracking is severe
If there is severe cracking in the driveway, it is advisable to rebuild it. To do this, get the help of experienced professionals. They can thoroughly analyse the causes of damage and rectify them before constructing a new driveway.
Bitumen driveways add charm and beauty to your dream home. By taking a few simple steps, any lasting damage to your driveway can be easily prevented.