If you’re like most people, when you think of ways to go green, the very last thing that comes to mind is asphalt driveway maintenance. But hear me out on this one – there are lots of things you can do to make this not-very-green part of your home be less of a burden on the environment.
You see, the key is that preventative asphalt maintenance is the concept to keep in mind in its “greenness” – saver of time, saver of money, saver of the environment. Tearing up asphalt to put down new surfaces? No matter what you’re replacing it with, you’re contributing all kinds of greenhouse gas emissions in transport and of course waste.
So what can you do to keep it on the green?
Maintain a smooth surface. Sweep the paved surface and then walk over it in a grid, carefully inspecting it for anything that might be compromising the top layer. When water seeps into the foundation, it can freeze and expand, causing severe damage to the asphalt.
Use Household Vinegar – If you spot weeds coming up, get out some household vinegar and your gardening gloves. Pull the weeds or grass up, trying to get the roots to come with the plant. Then pour vinegar over the area to act as a non-invasive weed killer.
Washing your driveway – If you spot oil, grease, transmission fluid or diesel spots on your asphalt, you need to remove them as soon as possible. Otherwise they soften the pavement and allow the surface to be compromised. Use an all-natural degreaser cleaner to sop up the stains. Remember, when you choose to use an all-natural formula, it isn’t as strong as a chemical, so anticipate that it will take more treatments to completely remove the stain. Be patient.
(By the way, if these fluids are leaking from your car in your driveway, the greener thing to do is to get your car fixed!)
Fill those cracks – If you see cracks, get some liquid crack filler and seal them up right away. If you wait too long and the crack exceeds ½ an inch in width you’ll need to go to a hot pour crack filler, with its environmental impact to consider. But if you leave cracks unfilled, you have the same potential for damage from water seeping in that we mentioned before.
Finally, if you live in a cold climate, check the color of your asphalt. Has it faded to grey? Fresh black sealcoating doesn’t just pick up the look of the property – it actually helps to make your pavement more resilient. The black color acts as an attractor for sunlight, melting ice and snow without the need for salts. And the sealcoat product is like a moisturizer for your driveway: it makes the surface supple and preserves its lifespan.
According to Sacramento State University, for each ton of asphalt you save, you save 16 gallons of oil, 1,870 pounds of rock, and 75 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Understanding what’s at stake should make it obvious: maintain asphalt in peak condition and you’ll be able to feel good and have a driveway that looks good, too!
Will Lam is part of the online marketing team at Asphalt Kingdom, a site where homeowners can get driveway maintenance advice, how-to guides, and asphalt driveway sealer supplies they need to maintain their asphalt themselves.