Tips for Paving an Asphalt Driveway

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    Tips for Paving an Asphalt Driveway

    A nice driveway is a great addition to any house. It provides you with a parking space and enhances the curb appeal of your home. Asphalt is easily the most common choice for building it. It costs significantly less than concrete, which tends to be 45% more expensive to install.

    So, regardless of your aesthetic preferences and budget, it is probably a rock-solid option. Here is a quick guide on how to finish the project with flying colours.

    Copper-bottomed foundations

    This exciting project can be carried out by most people, regardless of their experience, but it is not a walk in the park. Yes, materials and techniques are pretty straightforward. However, there is a lot of ground to cover, especially when it comes to educating yourself and planning ahead. Also, asphalt is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

    You need to factor in various elements, such as sturdiness, longevity, maintenance, time of the year, and resistance to weather conditions.

    So, right off the bat, notice that the most important stage of paving a driveway is the one that precedes the process of pouring. In other words, laying a solid gravel base, made from crushed stone or conbit, is the bedrock of the whole project. It must be thick and well-compacted and, depending on whether the soil is well- or poor-draining, the layer is between 2 and 8 inches thick.

    If you fail to hit the sweet spot, you could end up having an inferior driveway.

    Crux of the matter

    As for asphalt itself, it is actually a mixture of aggregate, containing stone, sand, and liquid asphalt cement. The two basic options in the market reflect a difference in the size of gravel filler used. Coarser aggregate mixtures are recommended for driveways that see heavy traffic.

    Either way, asphalt needs to be heated to the point where it becomes liquid and then poured over the gravel base. Typically, it is 2-inches thick and needs to be compacted soon afterwards (you mustn’t allow it to cool down).

    Namely, mechanical compaction of the base and subbase, as well as asphalt, is the next step, which is the key to building a quality, long-lasting driveway. Tools like heavy rollers and heavy compaction equipment are used to ensure this. If you don’t know how to operate them, call in the professionals.

    Personal stamp

    The result should be a thick, black driveway. However, you can also add a personal touch to it. A driveway does not have to be plain or unsightly, you know.

    For instance, it is possible to utilize asphalt as the main building material, but take advantage of other materials, like concrete, to decorate. So, go for a decorative apron of stamped and stained concrete to blend elegance and functionality. Alternatively, use coloured concrete to boost the visual appeal with a variety of colours. This kind of driveway will surely turn some heads around the neighbourhood.

    Final considerations

    There are multiple advantages to having an asphalt driveway. First off, it absorbs heat during winter, thus helping you deal with snow. Secondly, it is quite a durable solution, that’s also resistant to crack damage.

    Even in colder climates, it should be able to perform well and withstand freezing temperatures. In fact, warm climate is a bigger threat because constant exposure to it can soften your driveway which can cause it to crack and groove.

    One final thing to note is that asphalt driveways have to be sealed every five years. As months and years roll by, your driveway will lose its colour and become more brittle. Sealing prevents this deterioration and restores the original consistency. When maintained properly, an asphalt driveway can last up to 30 years.

    Long live asphalt

    Replacing or creating a driveway is a project that improves the value of your home, its functionality, and keeps its exterior in top shape. Asphalt is a no-brainer for many people as it is both an affordable material but also a heavy-duty option.

    If you are not the most resourceful DIY handyman, feel free to hire a reputable contractor to handle some aspects of the job. Just make sure to maintain the driveway properly in order to increase its longevity.

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    Written by Jenson Phillips

    Hi, I'm Jenson. Father of two and living with OCD, read my musings on coping with both and maybe pick up some advice for yourself.