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Understanding the Impact of Rain on Asphalt Driveways

water damaged asphalt

Rain poses a significant threat to the longevity and integrity of asphalt driveways, particularly in regions like Middlesex and Somerset Counties of New Jersey. In this article, we’ll delve into the various ways rain affects asphalt driveway surfaces and how to mitigate its damaging effects.

Rain can affect asphalt driveways in many ways. Imagine your blacktop driveway as a big chocolate cake. Now, imagine that when it rains, it’s like pouring water on that cake. Just like water can affect the cake in different ways, it can also affect your driveway. 

Here’s how:

Water Damage to Driveways

Drying Time:

Rain can prolong the curing time of asphalt, rendering the surface unusable for an extended period.

Structural Damage: 

Displacement of oil by rainwater can lead to pitting or cracking, compromising the driveway’s structure.


Moisture can soften the asphalt mix, reducing its ability to support vehicles and foot traffic.

Cracking, Pitting, and Crumbling: 

Moisture intrusion weakens the bond between the bonding agent and aggregates, resulting in visible damage. You driveway could even develop potholes, that would need repaired and sealed.

Compromised Integrity: 

Rain may cause the oil and gravel in asphalt to separate, further weakening its integrity.

Subsoil Stability: 

Excessive rain jeopardizes the stability of the subsoil, exacerbating structural issues.

asphalt damage from rain

Effects of Rain Over Time

When it rains a lot, it can damage your driveway in many ways. Rainwater can wash away parts of the driveway, create big puddles, and make it crack and break. Water sneaking into cracks can weaken the ground under the driveway, and rain makes the driveway get old faster, making it fade and become weak over time. So, it’s important to take care of your driveway, especially when it rains a lot, like we have had this spring in New Jersey. Driveway sealing keeps it strong and smooth for a long time!

Over time, rain can exacerbate the following issues:


Continuous exposure to rainwater can lead to the erosion of asphalt particles, resulting in surface irregularities and cracks.


Inadequate drainage can cause water to pool, weakening the asphalt and contributing to deterioration.

Expansion and Contraction: 

Rain-induced expansion and contraction stress the asphalt surface, leading to cracks and damage.

Weakening of Subbase: 

Water penetration through cracks saturates the subbase, weakening the driveway’s structural integrity.

Accelerated Aging: 

Constant exposure to rain accelerates asphalt aging, leading to fading, brittleness, and overall deterioration.

To combat these issues, proper installation, regular maintenance, and sealing are essential. This includes crack filling, ensuring adequate drainage, sealing to prevent water penetration, and periodic resealing to protect against weathering.

Water Damaged Driveway FAQs

Water can infiltrate and undermine asphalt, pushing its components apart, leading to structural damage over time.

It’s recommended to seal a new asphalt driveway within 30-90 days after installation to protect it from the elements and maintain its appearance.

Sealcoating is an effective method to prevent water damage by sealing cracks and protecting the surface from moisture infiltration.

Water can flow through asphalt, particularly if drainage is inadequate, leading to pavement failure.

Surface water is a significant factor in weakening asphalt, causing cracks to expand and facilitating the formation of potholes if not properly maintained.

The impact of rain on asphalt driveways, especially in regions like Middlesex and Somerset Counties of New Jersey, is significant. Rainwater can cause various issues such as prolonging curing time, structural damage, softening, and compromising integrity. In time, rain can worsen erosion, pooling, expansion and contraction, weakening of the subbase, and accelerate aging. 


Proper maintenance, including sealing and regular upkeep, is crucial to mitigate these effects. Despite the challenges posed by rain, proactive measures can help maintain driveways’ strength and durability. For residents, particularly in rainy regions like New Jersey this spring, driveway sealing is essential to ensure longevity and smoothness.


For expert advice and a free quote on protecting your asphalt driveway from rain damage, contact Kleen Seal of Fords, New Jersey, with over 30 years of experience in driveway sealing.

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