Top 10 Things That Cause Damage to Asphalt Driveways

Paving your driveway with asphalt is one of the best things that you can do to your home. It’s affordable, durable, and improves the curb appeal of your home. However, it’s important to note that asphalt driveway is prone to damage, especially when it’s constantly exposed to particular conditions.

With that said, below we list the top 10 things that can damage your asphalt driveway. 


This is the greatest enemy of any asphalt paved surface, including your driveway. Stagnant water from rain or melting snow or ice had a detrimental effect on the lifespan of asphalt. If you didn’t know, asphalt can partially absorb stagnant water—thanks to its porosity.

This can even be worse when the water penetrates to the base layer. This, in turn, makes the base layer weak, which makes the surface crack when exposed to heavier loads. 


When the sun heats an asphalt driveway, it causes some of the elements in the mixture to break down. Also, the sun causes asphalt to dry out, thus making it wear out, and eventually break down.

Although the sun can cause asphalt to break apart, cracking on these surfaces happens because of other activities like foot and vehicle traffic. 

Heavy-duty vehicles

Most driveways are designed to support the weight of an ordinary car, not a heavy-duty vehicle or truck. So, if heavy-duty trucks constantly access an asphalt driveway, you’ll notice that the wheel paths start to weaken and rut.

The damage can even be worse in driveways where such vehicles move slowly or park for extended periods of time. This, in turn, affects the functionality and sustainability of the driveway. 

Oil and fuel

According to asphalt paving experts, ABC Paving & Sealcoating, oil, and fuel from cars are other types of liquid that cause asphalt driveways to deteriorate.

These two products comprise chemical substances, which cause asphalt to deteriorate very fast. Both oil and fuel can penetrate an asphalt paved driveway with time—thanks to their chemical composition.

If the oil and fuel spillage is constant, it will make the asphalt to soften and crumble eventually—which can lead to serious repairs that can cost you a fortune. 

Ground movements

The ground in some areas is continually shifting because of seasonal conditions and changes. Moreover, natural disasters can cause the ground to shift.

However, the annual ground shifting has a bigger impact, putting constant pressure on asphalt paved driveways, which leads to cracking and potholes.

When the ground below the asphalt driveway expands, it can make the driveway to shift. To repair such damages, you should patch up or replace the damaged area, and then apply a complete overlay to the rest of the driveway. 

Improper installation

Failure to follow the correct procedure when installing an asphalt driveway is the leading cause of cracks and potholes. This is more prevalent for driveways with an improperly constructed base.

Some contractors tend to use light materials when installing the base in a bid to save money and time. When water penetrates to the base layer, or the constant free and thaw cycles, or uneven pressure is exerted to the driveway, the materials start to loosen, thus causing the surface to deteriorate. 

Tree roots

Asphalt is a very durable material. However, tree roots pose a serious threat to asphalt driveways. As they grow the tree roots start exerting uneven pressure on some parts of the driveway, together with its foundation. This leads to cracking when the pressure exceeds the breaking point of the asphalt. 

Constant freezing and thawing

The winter season has lots of freezing and thawing cycles. Now, in case water has penetrated to the base layer, it will make the layer start contracting and expanding, as the cycle continues.

Eventually, this damage spreads to the top layer, which is the asphalt surface. This, in turn, will cause the asphalt to weaken, thus leading the formation of cracks and potholes. 

Metal shovel

If you are using a metal shovel to clear snow out of your driveway, then you are doing the wrong thing. A metal shovel risks scratching the surface, thus causing damage to your driveway.

Rather than using a metal shovel, use a plastic shovel, which reduces the damage. Moreover, you should exercise a lot of caution when removing snow, and make sure that it stops at around one inch above the surface. 

Studded tires

Although studded tires help in improving traction on an icy driveway, they can create holes on your driveway if you use them repetitively. Therefore, you should try to avoid using studded tires on your driveway as much as possible.

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