Asphalt Paving your Driveway

Asphalt paving is the ultimate in all-weather driveway materials. As seasonal weather temperatures fluctuate between hot and cold extremes, conventional concrete driveways tend to crack. Add in freezing and thawing ice conditions to the mix and concrete driveways just can't stand up to the punishment from Mother Nature. Typical asphalt driveways that are correctly installed from a professional paving contractor will last for 30+ years with very little maintenance needed.

Hot mix asphalt paving—also known as Chicago asphalt paving is the typical paving style used in driveways and roadways. Small pea sized aggregates are carefully mixed with a hot liquid asphalt cement at a nearby asphalt plant. This mix is then delivered hot to the jobsite in dump trucks and pressed while it is still hot to create a defining bond.

But before any paving begins, the site must first be prepared. Heavy grading equipment is used to scrape away layers of subsoil down several feet below the finished driveway surface. A backfill of crushed limestone or gravel is then added to the base of the driveway as a substrate. A heavy roller is then used to flatten the limestone or gravel to the desired thickness and depth.

At this point two layers of hot mix asphalt are applied for basic driveways. A layer of hot asphalt cement may be added first to the substrate to strengthen the bond between the sub-layer and two hot asphalt layers. This process, known as a full-depth asphalt application, is usually done only when very heavy vehicles will be using the driveway, as this additional process takes up considerable time and materials.

Because asphalt contractors are usually very busy with all of their equipment on each job, they tend to have a large backlog of waiting jobs. Set up your paving project weeks or even months in advance of your planned finish date to ensure your paving project will be done on time.

During your estimate with driveway paving contractors, it's best to have them walk through the actual job with you. Painting temporary lines with spray paint is a great way to show prospective paving contractors exactly what you're looking for and where you want your driveway to be.

As the contractor walks the job with you, it's also a good idea to discuss any issues you may have with drainage or water runoff and what they plan on doing about it. You may need to install drainage before you begin paving your driveway. Municipal water drainage and roadside pipe issues should also be addressed during the paving contractors estimate.

Prospective paving contractors should provide you with a detailed written estimate of driveway length, width and depth of each layer. Quotes on layer depth should be determined after compaction is complete, not before it. Also, if you own a gate, it may not be high enough off of the ground to open and close properly once the job has been completed. Ensure that your paving contractors are aware that they are responsible (or not) for fixing any gates or fences upon job completion.

As with hiring any contractor, make certain they are properly licensed, bonded and insured before receiving any estimates. Ask for a list of references you can contact to be certain they are the right paving contractor for you and you're sure to have a smooth running driveway paving project you'll love for years to come.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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