A newly paved parking lot or driveway is a sight to behold. The smooth, even blacktop makes your property that much more appealing while providing a more comfortable surface for people and vehicles alike. Of course, nothing lasts forever. If you take great care of your pavement, it can retain its beauty and strength for decades -- but if you don’t, it might only take about 5-7 years before you need to hire asphalt paving contractors again. Keeping the big picture in mind, then, it’s only practical to focus on proper asphalt maintenance. The only question is, how should you go about cleaning and caring for your freshly paved asphalt surfaces to keep them in mint condition? Let’s discuss.
How to Clean After You Lay Asphalt
Go Easy on Fresh Asphalt as It Cures
Your asphalt paving services can tell you that fresh asphalt doesn’t take too long to dry. In most cases, you’ll only have to wait about 24 hours from the time of pouring until the new pavement is ready to use. The curing process, on the other hand, is a different story. It can take as long as a year for your new parking lot or driveway to completely cure, by which time it will have reached its peak strength. During this first year, then it’s important to be as gentle as possible with your newly paved surfaces. Try to keep excessively heavy vehicles and machinery off the fresh asphalt until curing is complete, and make sure people don’t drive too quickly or sporadically on the asphalt, as this can damage the surface, cause streaking, and more. As far as cleaning does, sweep away debris on a regular basis and try to prevent more serious issues like oil and fuel spills, which we’ll go over next.
Quickly Clean Up Oil and Fuel Spills
There’s no way to prevent your freshly paved asphalt lot from taking on some dirt and debris. The good news is that most of these materials won’t have a lasting negative impact on your pavement, especially if you stay on top of asphalt maintenance. That said, substances like oil, gasoline, and other strong chemicals can do real damage to your asphalt, especially when it’s still in its curing phase. Should such substances land on your asphalt, it’s imperative to properly and thoroughly clean the affected areas immediately. Waiting too long to address these issues can result in weakened pavement, raveling, and more.
Use the Right Cleaning Solution for the Job
So, it’s important to clean up serious oil and fuel spills as quickly as possible -- it’s equally as important to use the right cleaning solutions for the task at hand. Some substances may either not be effective at cleaning your freshly paved asphalt or cause damage. To ensure you completely clean your asphalt without damaging it, hire professional asphalt cleaning services who have access to effective industrial paving cleaner solutions and equipment. If you’d rather attempt this process on your own, you can use an absorbent dry material like cat litter or sawdust to soak up the oil or fuel and let it sit overnight. Afterward, remove the dried material from the surface and spray it down with a hose (don’t use a pressure washer for this). Commercial degreasers, trisodium phosphate (TSP), or dish soap mixed with water can then be used to clean the affected area more deeply (steer clear of solvent-based chemicals). After you’ve scrubbed the asphalt with one of these solutions, rinse off the area once more and let it dry.
Keep Snow and Ice Off Your Asphalt
Winter is often the worst time of year for asphalt surfaces. The cold air coupled with snow and ice can lead to fracturing, warping, moisture intrusion, and more. The more you can do to prevent snow and ice from accumulating on your asphalt, the better. If you live in an area with harsh winters, hire snow clearing services to regularly shovel, blow, and/or plow snow away. Additionally, it helps to lay down ice melting material on your asphalt to prevent freezing -- just note that some types of salt and other ice melting chemicals can corrode asphalt surfaces.
Prevent Future Messes with Blacktop Sealcoating
Sealcoating your asphalt after it has completely cured is a powerful way to protect it from moisture, chemical spills, and more. Hiring asphalt services to reapply blacktop sealcoat about every 2-5 years will keep your asphalt in great shape, maintain its appearance, and greatly reduce the amount of cleaning and repair you’ll have to do over the long term.
Clean Up Your Asphalt with Cassidy Paving
Investing in fresh asphalt is only half the battle -- maintaining your new pavement with regular, proper cleaning is essential for enjoying your parking lot or driveway for years and years to come. At Cassidy Paving, we offer comprehensive asphalt solutions for commercial and residential properties across Southern NH and Massachusetts, including paving, repairs, cleaning, maintenance, sealcoating, and more. Call us today at 866-978-9788 for a free estimate on your next asphalt project.