How Long To Wait To Park On A New Driveway?

How long you should wait to park on a new driveway depends mostly on the type of driveway. With some driveways, you can park on it immediately while others require waiting between a week and a month (depending on the type of vehicle you want to park on it).  

What Happens If You Park On A New Driveway Too Soon?

What Happens If You Park On A New Driveway Too Soon?

If you drive or park on a new driveway too soon, you could seriously damage it. 

If you don’t give a concrete driveway enough time to cure, it could crack when you drive or park on it. Large patches of concrete could also sink into the base, creating ruts and potholes. That’s because the concrete is not strong enough to support the weight of the vehicle. 

Parking too soon on a concrete driveway could also leave tire marks on the concrete. These marks can be tough to remove. 

The same is true for asphalt driveways. You need to let it cure and get strong enough to support a lot of weight. Otherwise, it could develop ruts and sink in some areas since it is still a bit pliable. You are also likely to leave unsightly tire marks on a new asphalt driveway. 

It’s not just vehicles that can damage a new driveway. Walking on a driveway too soon can also cause permanent damage. On the first day, an asphalt or concrete driveway is soft enough that you can leave footprints on it. 

You’ve spent a lot of money laying down your new driveway. It’s worthwhile waiting a few days for it to be ready for use. 

Note that the following are just general recommendations. Your wait time may vary depending on your particular circumstances such as the specific materials used, any finishes or coatings applied on the driveway, local weather and the kinds of vehicles that will use the driveway. 

So we recommend asking your contractor for advice on how long you should wait before parking or walking on the driveway. If that’s not possible or if you laid the driveway yourself, then follow the guidelines below for different types of driveways.  

How Long to Wait to Park on a New Concrete Driveway

Let’s begin with a concrete driveway, which is the most common type of driveway. A concrete driveway is relatively easy and quick to lay and it lasts an incredible amount of time. 

A concrete driveway goes through two stages: drying and curing. Drying is the first step. It allows the concrete driveway to reach the right moisture level to support the weight of a car. As soon as the concrete is dry, you can park and drive on the driveway. 

It takes about 7 days for a concrete driveway to be dry enough that you can safely park your vehicle on it. So give it a week before letting any passenger vehicle on the driveway. Wait longer (about 10 days) for heavier trucks and vans and even longer (28 days) for buses, vans and heavy machinery.  

Here are some additional precautions. 

  • For the first 28 days, avoid driving or parking your car close to the edges of the driveway. Those areas are weaker and could collapse from the weight of the vehicle. 
  • Be careful when driving on and off the driveway. Do not brake the car suddenly, accelerate dramatically or make sharp turns. This could cause permanent scuffs and tire marks on the driveway. 

It takes 28 days or about a month for concrete to cure. At that point, the concrete driveway has gotten as hard and as strong as it will ever be. So it can be utilized fully. 

That’s not to mean you can drive and park any vehicle on the driveway. It’s important to know the weight limit of your driveway. 

Regular residential concrete driveways are poured 4 inches thick and can hold up to 8,000lbs of weight. So it can hold most passenger vehicles and even trucks. 

If you plan to pack something heavier like an RV, a bus camper or heavy machinery, you’ll need a stronger concrete driveway.

How Soon Can You Walk on A Fresh Concrete Driveway?

A concrete driveway takes 24-48 hours to dry enough that you can safely walk on it without leaving footprints or scratching it. 

The first 24 hours are especially crucial. Do not let anything, even pets, on the fresh concrete. Put up a warning tape (if the contractor has not already done so) to keep people and kids off the driveway. 

To be safe, wait a full 2 days before walking on the driveway and 3 days before cycling on it. 

How Long to Wait to Park on a New Asphalt Driveway

Like concrete, asphalt goes through a 2-stage drying and curing process. It dries pretty quickly (2-5 days) but can take up to a year to fully cure. 

It’s advisable to wait 7 days before driving or parking on a new asphalt driveway. Some contractors recommend a shorter waiting period of 3 days. But to be safe and avoid tire marks (which are especially common on new asphalt), it’s best to wait a week. 

For heavier vehicles like an RV or a bus, wait 30 days for the asphalt to completely dry. 

As with a concrete driveway, be careful while driving on a new asphalt driveway. Avoid sudden acceleration or braking, and don’t turn the wheels when the vehicle is stationary as they could scuff the asphalt. 

An asphalt driveway takes 6-12 months to fully cure. After that, it is much more resistant to scuffing and other kinds of damage. 

Note: Residential asphalt driveways have a weight limit of about 8,000lbs. So they can handle most passenger vehicles. Anything heavier like an RV or a commercial truck can damage the asphalt driveway even after it has cured. 

How Soon Can You Walk on a New Asphalt Driveway?

An asphalt driveway is usually dry enough to walk on after 24 hours, but it’s best to wait 2-3 days to be safe. 

Wait 5-7 days before allowing bikes, skateboards or toys on the asphalt driveway. 

How Long to Wait to Park on a New Paver Driveway

If you want to park on a driveway as soon as it is complete, get a paver driveway. Because it doesn’t use concrete or asphalt, a paver driveway has no wait time. 

At most, the contractor might recommend waiting 1-2 days for the materials to fully compact. But others will say it’s okay to drive and park on it immediately. You can also walk on a new paver driveway as soon as it’s finished. 

There is, however, an exception. If your new paver driveway has been edged with concrete, you’ll need to wait 2-3 days for it to dry. You can then park and drive on the pavers, but avoid getting too close to the edges.   

How Long to Wait to Park on a New Gravel Driveway

A gravel driveway is another great option if you want zero wait time. Since there isn’t any material that needs drying or curing, you can drive and park on a gravel driveway as soon as it is completed. 

This is true even if the driveway has concrete edging. Just be careful not to get too close to the edges. 

It’s important to make sure the driveway has been compacted properly before parking on it. Otherwise, your vehicle could leave ruts and indentations on the gravel.  

How Soon Should You Park On A Driveway After Sealing?

It’s a good idea to seal a driveway. The sealcoating protects the driveway from moisture damage, prevents stains and scuffing, and makes driveway maintenance easier. 

Concrete and asphalt driveways are usually sealed after they’ve cured (1 month for concrete, 6-12 months for asphalt). Pavers can be sealed a lot sooner, typically after 24-48 hours. 

Here’s a video showing how sealer is applied on a concrete driveway. 

Most kinds of sealers take 24-48 hours to dry. So wait 1-2 days after a seal coating is applied to drive or park on the driveway. 

You can walk on a sealed driveway about 6 hours after the coating is applied. In colder weather, you may need to wait 8-12 hours as the coating will take longer to dry. 

Gravel driveways cannot be sealed like other types of driveways. Instead, they are resin-bound. How long it takes to drive or park on a gravel driveway after resin is applied depends on the particular brand of resin. 

Most manufacturers recommend waiting 24-48 hours before parking on a resin-bound driveway.  

If you are looking for more advice about parking your car, check out this guide about unregistered cars.

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