Driveway FAQs >> The Lifespan of a New Minnesota Asphalt Driveway
A new driveway is a big investment for your property, so you’re probably concerned with how long you can expect your new driveway to last and keep looking good. The answer isn’t as simple as you’d think. The longevity of blacktop driveways depends on a number of factors, each of which has an influence on its lifetime. Some of those factors include:
- Soil Conditions – The soil conditions where the driveway was built affect the lifespan of the driveway. A brand new driveway installed right after a home is built on soft clay or loamy soil may last for about 18 years. On the other hand, a replacement driveway installed on a firm sandy property could last up to 35 years. The difference comes from both the type of soil and what happens to that soil over time. A well-drained soil that has ideal qualities for driveways extends the useful life of the driveway. On the other hand, clay and loamy soils in a new housing development doesn’t completely settle for years, so the original driveway may need replacement sooner than you’d expect.
- Sub-Base Type – Wherever a driveway is built, the makeup of the sub-base that supports it is a major factor in the life expectancy of the driveway. For sandy or gravelly soil types, this is less important, since those soils drain well and they retain their compaction well. For clay or loamy soils, the quality and thickness of the sub-base is very important. Today, pavers have the option, too, of using Geotechnical fabric under the sub-base to prevent soil infiltration. That adds to the lifetime of the driveway, too.
- Driveway Drainage – Driveways need to be designed and installed to drain water properly from their surface. Low spots or poorly drained edges allow water to infiltrate under the driveway and loosen the sub-base. That can cause premature deterioration of the driveway. Richfield Blacktop takes special care to create driveways that drain properly, depending on your property. In some cases, driveways are flat.
- Usage and Maintenance – The kind of vehicles used on your driveway influence its longevity. Long-term parking of heavy vehicles on an asphalt driveway can cause sags in the asphalt, especially in hot weather, leading to poor drainage and early deterioration. Keeping heavy vehicles like garbage trucks off your driveway is important, too. Over-watering lawns near the driveway edge can also cause problems, especially in soft soils. Oil or fuel spills can dissolve away some of the asphalt, leading to problems, and unrepaired cracks also allow water infiltration that can cause low spots and potholes, especially in the freeze/thaw cycle of wintertime.
A Rule of Thumb for Driveway Life
Experiencing over 60+ years of building driveways in the Twin Cities has shown us that the lifespan of properly installed and maintained asphalt driveways average about 20 years for brand new driveways at new homes, and 28 years for replacement driveways. The difference is due to the additional settling of soils at older homes. Those are just averages, of course, and conditions for your driveway may make the lifetime longer or shorter. In most cases, though, your new driveway will likely last longer than you own your home.
Richfield Blacktop – Building Quality Driveways That Last
Since Richfield Blacktop has over 60 years of experience building driveways, we’ve watched many of the driveways we’ve installed throughout their lifetimes. In that time, we’ve learned all of the reasons why driveways last, and apply all of that knowledge when installing every driveway. New techniques and materials have also contributed to increased lifespans for driveways. Contact Richfield Blacktop for a free, no-obligation consultation and estimate for your driveway, and take advantage of our experience and expertise.