Installing a new asphalt driveway is a major investment in your home. Your driveway serves as a welcome mat for your guests and will add curb appeal to your home. Choosing the right paving contractor is important. Not all contractors are equal and this especially true of paving contractors. Please review all of the information below as well as our Contractor Check list before making your investment. If you have any additional question please call 1-800-ASPHALT and one of our experienced staff will be ready to assist you.
Do I need any entire new driveway or can I just pave over the old one?
The answer here is not a simple one. The overall condition of your driveway will ultimately determine which application is best. Generally a severely cracked or rutted surface indicates that there is a problem with the base material and the driveway must be removed and replaced. If base issues are not addressed, the new surface will crack and rut in the same areas in a very short period of time. Asphalt overlays are common when the existing pavement is in fairly good condition showing only minor cracking and defects. Typically homeowners will overlay an existing driveway that is in less than ideal condition and/or are in need of extending their driveway to make room for additional cars. The final result is a new larger continuous driveway.
What if my driveway needs to be removed and replaced?
When it has been determined that you are in need of a completely new driveway you can expect the following; During the first of two visits to your home the existing asphalt will be removed and carted away. We will ensure that there is a minimum of 4 inches of item-4 base material and add additional material as needed. If we discover any wet or soft areas in the sub base (soil layers) they must be removed and filled in with a solid material such as gravel or additional item-4 until a solid base is achieved. We will notify you if any such additional work needs to be performed. The item-4 will be compacted with a 3 ton vibratory roller. The item-4 base material is left to settle and dry for a period of 10-14 days. It is safe and recommended for you to drive over the item-4 during the waiting period. After this time we will call to schedule the second visit to complete the paving portion of the project. All paving work will be completed with an asphalt paving machine. We will install a 2 ½" layer of asphalt over the compacted item-4. This 2 ½" of asphalt is the COMPACTED THICKNESS . This is the actual thickness of the finished product. The asphalt will come out of the machine a little over 3" thick but must be compacted. Don't be fooled by a contract who says they are “giving you 3" of asphalt for the same price or less. Asphalt is very expensive and just a half inch will be over $500 in additional material costs on a 2000 square foot driveway.
What if an asphalt overlay is best for me?
When an asphalt overlay is to be installed the following procedures must be followed. Any and all defects such as large cracks, pot holes, etc must be addressed. We will fill these defects with compacted hot asphalt. Heavily alligatored areas will be removed or milled and replaced with compacted hot asphalt. Failure to prep these pavement failures will cause the new overlay to fail. We will mill or remove an area in front of the garage as to maintain a level surface with the garage floor. Your new driveway should not sit higher than the adjoining concrete floor. We will mill and remove a section of the driveway where it meets the street to ensure a clean tight bond with the road. We will install a 1 ½" -2" compacted layer of asphalt depending on the driveway condition.
What is an Asphalt paving machine?
An asphalt paving machine is used by professional paving contractors to uniformly place hot mix asphalt. As the hot mix asphalt passes under the rear of the paver the new surface is Immediately compressed providing a smooth tight surface. A tighter surface means less water will penetrate into the pavement. An asphalt paver will distribute the hot mix asphalt evenly unlike a contractor who uses rakes and wheel barrows. Hot mix asphalt is a perishable product. It is loaded into trucks at a temperature of over 300 degrees. The asphalt paver allows our crew to work efficiently and lay down the asphalt before it cools. The rake and wheel barrow method causes the asphalt to cool and results in less dense pavement and a more course surface.
What is Hot Mix Asphalt?
Hot mix asphalt (HMA) is a mixture of various size aggregates and sand held together with liquid asphalt cement. The liquid asphalt is heated to over 300 degrees and mixed with the aggregates at an asphalt plant.
The HMA is loaded into trucks and delivered to your driveway. The HMA cools and must be placed before the temperature of the material drops below 175 degrees. The time it takes to reach this temperature varies with the season. When properly installed and maintained, HMA will last a upwards of 15 years before major repaving is required.
Why should I ask about the pitch of the driveway?
Pitch refers to the slope of the driveway. Your driveway should have a pitch of at least 2% or ¼ inch per foot. A 2% pitch will allow water to flow usually away from the garage or building. An experienced crew can work with a site which may have slightly less than ideal pitch. Sometimes circumstances do not allow for proper pitch or there may be no pitch at all. In these situations we will recommend the installation of a drainage system. The biggest problem with installing a new driveway is water. Water issues must be addressed.
How do I know if Drainage is necessary?
Upon our initial site visit we will measure and access any water and drainage issues. Just because water runs off your existing driveway doesn't mean it will run off a newly paved driveway.