Little cracks on my asphalt driveway

I have an asphalt driveway, and I just sealed it last year. I used a more expensive sealant, because it said it did a good job filling the little cracks and such.

Thinking back, I may have done the same thing just 2-3 years prior.

So now, just one year after sealing it, I again have a bunch of little hairline cracks all over my blacktop. It looks like the pattern you see when a mud puddle dries out - kind of a spiderweb of little cracks all over. None of them are deep, just up at the surface. The surface is still fairly black.

According to this article, I may have committed a terrible error, and should expect my layers of sealant to peel away like a bad sunburn. :frowning:

So what options do I have? It seems that applying another layer of sealant would just make it worse. Am I doomed to watch my once-beautiful driveway come up in pieces? :confused:

Do you have something edging the blacktop, like a small cement curb? If not, that may be your problem. Asphalt that doesn’t have a “border” tends to crack from the weight of the cars-- the “border” helps make it stronger.

Secondly, are you using salts or a plow to get rid of snow and ice? Salts and melting agents can cause the tar in asphalt to break down over time, and plows can tear up small pieces, weakening the surface.

I don’t know about the sealant peeling, but all driveways will crack given time. Basically, the most common reasons for this are the earth under the asphalt being washed away, essentially leaving you with a sinkhole (this will generally only happen if you installed the driveway when a) it was cold b) it was wet, c) you didn’t compact the soil, although for residential applications, this isn’t generally necessary).

Just because there’s not a curb, there are things that can be install a driveway to help keep the cracking down, which is usually as simple as “angling” the edges (i.e. laying them at a 45% angle instead of keeping them perp. to the ground or just letting the ashpalt glob all over). I have no idea why this works, but it does.

Unfortunately, your only recourse is to reseal it. And reseal it and reseal it…

I’d just leave it be. If you have big chunks falling off, I’d be concerned, but otherwise, you really don’t have anything to worry about.

Add: ashpalt wasn’t compacted properly after it was laid.

How old was the driveway when it was poured? If you just poured it and sealed it, the asphalt breaking underneath while settling is the most likely cause.

Quick Fix: Stop being so concerned about your friggin’ driveway when the sealant’s probably washing off and down into the drains, killing fish and so on.

Let it erode naturally. New asphalt doesn’t look like that forever, nor should it.

Just become One with the fact that one day, your driveway will cease to be so pretty, just like every driveway, every flower, and every good lookin’ girl.

Lissa asked:

The street on the long side, and the rest is at ground level.

Nope, just me and my snowshovel. Though it is getting incidentally salted by the passing plows and cindertrucks.
Chairman Pow asked:

It was poured over 7 years ago, well before I moved in. So it’s tough to tell when it happened.

I’m tending to disbelieve the “settling” theory, and here’s why: (1) the cracks are all very very shallow, as though they are cracks in the sealent alone. (2) the cracks are spread out uniformly, even over the section that no one drives on. (My driveway is not the normal pattern – it is more a parking area parallel to the street, with room for 5 cars. I only have one. Thus there are areas that no one parks on except very occasionally.)

Don’t stress over it. Before sealing my five-year-old driveway two years ago, I researched the hell out of the available products–both commercial, professional and even experimental. After waaaay too much angst, I went with the top of the line product.

Here’s my considered opinion: When you de-amplify the hype, sealants fall into two categories: bad and so-so. That’s about it. Nothing performs amazingly well and nothing will form an inpenetable, jet-black, ultra-smooth and ultra-lasting coating.

The sun’s UV and cosmic rays are brutal, so the best you can do is to keep the cracks sealed, choose from one of the better products, and recoat every couple years. The big mistake, of course, is to go with the cheapo stuff and, worse, to let your driveway “bleach out” before applying another layer of sealant. Another key consideration: don’t apply the stuff too thick, or when it’s cool or wet outside. Oh, and this: avoid like the Ebola virus those fly-by-night hucksters who travel door to door offering to seal your driveway. They use literally bottom of the barrel products.

Other than that, you’ve done your best. There’s plenty else to worry about, like nailpops in your drywall.

You might want to think about running a curb on both sides. As I understand it, the weight of cars kind of smooshes the asphalt down, making it crack as it strains to spread. A curb or cement border will help keep it in place. (Plus it’ll look nice.)

What about local companies that use a hot sealant? Two of my neighbors used a local, presumably reputable company, and their driveways look brand new.