A house comes in a lot of advantages; however, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. One of your biggest responsibilities is the driveway. It is important for you to take care of your driveway. That way, it will last as long as possible. At the same time, there may be some cracks that are simply impossible to repair. Or, you might be interested in changing the materials out of what your driveway has been made. Even though your new driveway may look beautiful, it is not necessarily ready to drive on. You need to wait until the driveway is completely dry before you drive on it. Otherwise, you may cause some serious damage.
With this in mind, how long do you need to wait before you can drive on your driveway? Take a look at a few important points below.
The Material Used To Make Your Driveway
Of course, one of the biggest factors is going to be the material you use to make your driveway. Two of the most common choices are asphalt and concrete. They both have their benefits and drawbacks; however, you need to take a closer look at how long these materials take to dry.
Before we dive into these materials, it is important to understand the difference between two common terms: drying and curing. They are not the same things.
Drying takes place when the solvents evaporate from the surface of the film. After something has dried, it is free from any tackiness or stickiness. Curing takes place when the residual solvents completely leave the fountain. Then, your driveway begins to cross-link with the oxygen in the air. This will lead to strength, toughness, abrasion resistance, and chemical resistance.
If you are taking a closer look at different materials, what you are most interested in is how long the material takes to dry. Once it is dry, you can drive on it. So, let’s take a closer look at two common materials.
An Asphalt Driveway
First, let’s take a closer look at an asphalt driveway. Asphalt takes between 6 and 12 months to completely cure. During this time, it is going to be more susceptible to damage. Therefore, you do need to be careful; however, you obviously do not have to wait this long for your asphalt driveway to be usable. Instead, you need to focus on how long your asphalt is going to take to dry.
If you are laying down a completely new asphalt driveway, it will take between 2 and 3 days for your asphalt to dry to foot or car traffic. After this time, you should be able to drive on your asphalt driveway safely.
If you already have an asphalt driveway, you might be resurfacing it instead. In general, your asphalt driveway is going to take just a few hours to dry after being resurfaced. Therefore, if you are simply repairing a few cracks or adding a new finish, you should not have to wait multiple days before your asphalt driveway is usable.
When you cut down an asphalt driveway, there are several factors that are going to impact how quickly you can use this driveway. A few important factors include:
- Temperature: The temperature is going to play a role in how long it takes your asphalt driveway to dry. Even though this may come as a surprise, excessive heat can actually slow down the drying time. Furthermore, this can make your asphalt driveway softer before it finishes curing. That is why your contractors might not work with an asphalt driveway if it is over 95 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, an asphalt driveway is also going to take longer to dry if it is too cold outside. The asphalt may harden before your contracting crew finishes working on it. This could result in bumps or lumps in your driveway that need to be fixed later.
- Humidity: The humidity is also going to play a role in how long it takes your asphalt driveway to dry. If you live in an environment that is more humid, then it may take your asphalt driveway longer to dry.
- Precipitation: Of course, precipitation is also going to play a role in how long it takes your asphalt driveway to dry. Contractors are not going to lay an asphalt driveway if it is raining outside. If it starts to rain after the asphalt driveway has already been laid, then it may take a few extra days for your driveway to dry.
You should keep these factors in mind if you are thinking about adding an asphalt driveway to your property. Remember that you can reach out to professionals with any questions or concerns. You should always place safety first if you are trying to fix your driveway.
A Concrete Driveway
Another kind of material that people use on their driveway is concrete. If you are having a new concrete driveway poured, you may be interested in how long it takes before your driveway becomes usable. Of course, this is going to depend on a number of factors.
Remember that there is a difference between curing and drying. Unlike asphalt, concrete here is much faster than it dries. If you would like your concrete driveway to last as long as possible, you need to be patient before you walk or drive on it. You should try to stay off the concrete completely for 48 hours. This means avoiding vehicle traffic and foot traffic. After 48 hours, you should be able to walk on your concrete driveway.
After this, give your concrete driveway a couple of extra days before you use heavier items. After two days, you can walk on it; however, you may want to keep skateboards, bicycles, and roller blades off of the concrete driveway until at least four or five days. Items with wheels tend to concentrate a significant amount of weight over a small area. This means that you could damage the concrete driveway as it continues to dry or cure.
Finally, you should wait at least a week before you go over your concrete driveway with a vehicle. Remember that heavier vehicles are going to cause more damage to a concrete driveway that is still drying. After a week, you may feel comfortable driving on your concrete driveway with a sedan; however, if you have a minivan or a pickup truck, you may want to wait for a few extra days.
When you start to use your concrete driveway, remember that the edges are going to be the last area secure or dry. Therefore, you need to be careful and try to stay away from the edges of your concrete driveway for up to two weeks. Depending on the temperature conditions outside, it could take up to a month for your concrete driveway to cure completely. After this, you should be able to use your concrete driveway as normal.
If you have any questions about your concrete driveway, you may want to reach out to a contractor. Even though it can be difficult to wait this long, you need to be patient if you would like your concrete driveway to last as long as possible.
Analyzing the Pros and Cons of Different Materials
Even though we have mentioned two different types of materials, there are plenty of other options regarding driveways as well. Therefore, it is important to take a closer look at the pros and cons of several options for your driveway. A few of the most common choices for driveway materials include:
Concrete is one of the most popular options for driveways. Concrete is made using a variety of stone types put together using water and a lime-based binder. When it is finished, concrete provides a stable, smooth, and secure foundation that can stand up to a variety of conditions.
A few of the biggest advantages of using concrete to make your driveway include:
- Concrete is one of the most durable options for your driveway.
- This is also a versatile material that can be used in a wide variety of climates.
- Concrete driveways do not require a lot of maintenance beyond routine cleaning.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks to using concrete to make your driveway as well. For example, it is one of the most expensive materials. Furthermore, depending on the look of your house, it may not be aesthetically pleasing to your eyes.
If you take care of your concrete driveway and wait for it to dry, it should last between 25 and 50 years. You should expect to pay between $5 and $6 per square foot for a concrete driveway.
Another option you may see used in certain situations is a gravel driveway. Gravel driveways are made up of small stones that are put together in a relatively small space to create a drivable surface.
A few of the main advantages of using gravel to make your driveway include:
- Gravel is one of the least expensive options for making a driveway.
- Gravel compacts itself much better than larger rocks, creating a more stable surface.
- Gravel driveways can be used under just about any climate condition.
Even though the stones themselves will last for a long time, you may need to regrade your driveway every year or two depending on the amount of traffic you have going over it. Furthermore, your gravel driveway is going to be much more difficult to clear if you get snow. Stones tend to cling to ice and snow better than other materials, making it harder to clean.
If you are interested in getting a gravel driveway, you should expect to pay between $1 and $3 per square foot for your gravel driveway.
Of course, another popular material for driveways is asphalt. Asphalt is made of a mixture of sand, rock, and cement. Many people like the aesthetic look of asphalt driveways, and it behaves as well as concrete under certain situations.
A few advantages of an asphalt driveway include:
- It is less expensive than concrete.
- Asphalt is incredibly flexible, making it less likely to crack under stress.
- The dark appearance goes well with a variety of house exteriors.
One drawback that asphalt driveways is that they need to be resealed every few years. They are also not as durable as concrete driveways under hot conditions. If you take care of your asphalt driveway, it could last up to 20 years. You should expect to pay between $2 and $5 per square foot for your asphalt driveway.
Another material that you may have noticed in certain situations is brick. Brick can be used to make driveways. Furthermore, a lot of people like the look of brick driveways and the ability to customize the color.
A few advantages of using bricks to make your driveway include:
- Brick is relatively durable and can stand up to most weather conditions.
- If it is properly installed, brick is a very smooth surface.
- Brick also works well with other materials, so you can combine it with concrete or asphalt as an accent piece.
One downside is that a brick driveway requires a lot of maintenance. You may have to pressure wash it twice per year. Furthermore, this is one of the most expensive options for making a driveway.
If you take care of a brick driveway, it should last for approximately 25 years. Depending on the types of bricks you are using and the color you choose, you should expect to pay between $5 and $10 per square foot for a brick driveway.
Frequently Asked Questions About Driveway Materials and Maintenance
Ultimately, it is important to think carefully before you decide which materials you would like to use to make your driveway. There are several common questions people had about taking care of driveways. A few common examples include:
You need to make sure you wait for your driveway to dry before you drive on top it. If you do not wait for your driveway to dry completely, you could damage your driveway, leading to lumps, bumps, and cracks when it finally finishes drying.
If it is raining outside, you will not be able to put in most driveways. Even if your contractor is willing to do so, it is better to wait until it stops raining. That way, you do not have to worry about the water interfering with the curing or drying process. Wait for it to stop raining before you put in the driveway if you want the best results.
It depends on the type of drive while you have. In general, you should clean your driveway regularly. If you have an asphalt driveway, you may need to reseal it every few years. If you have a brick driveway, you may need to pressure wash it twice per year. Concrete driveways do not require as much maintenance as some of the other materials.