Maintaining your Asphalt Driveway or Parking Lot in Winter
- Relocate trees or shrubs that have roots that could eventually threaten the cement or asphalt.
- Create space for snow and other drain-off by edging the sides of the driveway. According to the article: “’Edging’ means that you remove the sod within two to three inches of the cement or blacktop.”
- Periodically seal or waterproof your driveway with a high quality sealing product.
- Keep the cement or blacktop clean year-round with a leaf blower and pressure washer. It’s especially important to clean spilled oil or other chemicals that might damage your driveway.
- Avoid using salt on cement driveways in winter, especially during the first year. Salt can lead to cracks in cement and other damage.
- Whether you have a professional plow to remove snow from your driveway or you do it yourself, be sure the plow blade is lifted high enough so that it doesn’t scrape and damage the cement or asphalt.
- Make sure gutters are not draining directly onto your driveway.
- Never park heavy vehicles or equipment on your driveway. It is not built to handle their weight.
As for damage to your asphalt or concrete driveway and walks, snow melts/deicers usually aren’t usually the culprits. Those surfaces usually are damaged by freeze-thaw cycles and not directly by chemical reactions between them and snow melts/deicers. Still, these products do contribute to freeze-thaw cycles by creating water from frozen precipitation. When snow or ice melts, water can penetrate into the pores of asphalt or concrete. When that water refreezes, it expands and exerts pressure on the walls of the pores, causing pieces to spall, or flake off. You can reduce this problem by applying a sealer to asphalt and concrete surfaces in the fall.
When it comes to the vegetation surrounding your driveway and walks, applying snow melts/deicers too frequently or too heavily will increase the likelihood you’ll damage plants and grass. To minimize the harm, in early spring if seasonal rains don’t arrive, flush the soil around the areas you treated this winter with a good dose of water.
Use snow melt/deicers sparingly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.