Does Salt Damage an Asphalt Driveway Over Time?

Does Salt Damage an Asphalt Driveway Over Time?

September 4, 2023

The,Word,"salt",From,A,Reagent,On,Asphalt,In,Winter.Asphalt driveways are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability and affordability. However, harsh weather conditions, especially during the winter months, can pose a threat to the longevity of these driveways. One common concern is whether the use of salt for ice and snow removal can cause damage to asphalt over time. In this blog post, we will explore the effects of salt on asphalt driveways and provide insights into how to effectively protect and maintain them.

1. The Impact of Salt on Asphalt:

Salt is commonly used to melt ice and snow on driveways and roads during winter. While salt effectively helps with the removal of ice and snow, it can have adverse effects on asphalt if not used properly. Salt contains chloride ions that can penetrate the surface of the asphalt, leading to deterioration over time. These chloride ions can break the bond between the asphalt particles, causing cracks and potholes to develop. Additionally, prolonged exposure to salt can also result in the oxidation and weakening of the asphalt binder, further contributing to its degradation.

2. Proper Salt Usage:

To minimize the potential damage caused by salt, it is crucial to use it properly on an asphalt driveway. Here are some guidelines to follow:

– Apply salt sparingly: Use the recommended amount of salt for the given area. Avoid excessive use, as it can increase the risk of asphalt damage.

– Timing is key: Apply salt before the snow or ice accumulates to prevent it from bonding to the asphalt surface. This will reduce the need for excessive salt usage during snow removal.

– Dilute with sand: Mixing salt with sand can help reduce the overall amount of salt used while providing traction on slippery surfaces. The sand acts as a buffer, reducing direct contact between the salt and the asphalt.

3. Alternative De-Icing Methods:

While salt is commonly used for snow and ice removal, there are alternative methods that can be less damaging to asphalt driveways. Consider the following options:

– Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA): CMA is an environmentally friendly de-icing agent that is less harmful to asphalt. It is derived from organic materials and does not contain chloride. Although it may be more expensive than salt, it poses less risk to your driveway.

– Shoveling and snow removal: Regularly clearing snow and ice from your driveway with a shovel or snowblower is an effective method that avoids the use of salt altogether. This can significantly reduce the potential damage to your asphalt driveway.

4. Proper Maintenance and Repair:

To protect an asphalt driveway from salt damage and prolong its lifespan, routine maintenance and timely repairs are crucial. Here are some steps to follow:

– Regular cleaning: Clear the driveway of debris, sand, and salt residue after winter to prevent them from seeping into the surface. Regular cleaning will minimize the accumulation of harmful substances on the asphalt.

– Patching cracks and potholes: Address any cracks or potholes as soon as they appear. Prompt repairs will prevent further deterioration and minimize the risk of salt infiltration, ultimately preserving the integrity of your driveway.

– Sealcoating: Applying a sealant to the surface of your asphalt driveway can provide an extra layer of protection against salt and other harmful substances. Sealcoating helps prevent water penetration and slows down the natural aging process of the asphalt.


Salt, when used in excess or without proper precautions, can indeed cause damage to an asphalt driveway over time. However, by following proper salt usage guidelines, exploring alternative de-icing methods, and prioritizing regular maintenance and repairs, homeowners can mitigate the detrimental effects of salt on their driveways. With proactive care, an asphalt driveway can withstand the challenges of winter weather and continue to provide a functional and attractive entrance to your home for years to come.

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D. Lee’s Paving is an asphalt paving company in the Spring Hill, TN area. At D. Lee’s Paving, our extremely skilled crew draws their know-how and skill from years of family work in the paving industry, using the absolute best techniques to provide you with the perfect finish for your site. Whether you’re doing a residential driveway or a commercial parking lot, we can get it done professionally and at a convenient cost. We offer comprehensive asphalt paving, maintenance, and repair services, as well as tar and chip fixes and road striping. For more details, please visit our site, or call us today!

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