Written by Todd Fratzel.
Long Lasting Asphalt Driveways
Here in the northeast asphalt driveways are the standard without exception. Asphalt driveways can provide a long term, reliable driving / parking surface and increase your homes value. However, not all driveways are created equal so this article will point out what you need to be aware of in order to get a long lasting asphalt driveway.
It’s All About The Base
Asphalt pavement is actually a very flexible surface that’s designed to resist small movements due to temperature and loading. The key to a long lasting driveway is actually found under the asphalt pavement where the gravel sub-base is located. While the pavement may only be 3 inches thick the sub-base can range from 8 to 24 inches in depth.
The strength and performance of the sub-base comes from three main components; quality gravel, drainage and compaction. Good quality gravel is the first step in building a long lasting driveway. The gravel needs to be well graded and clean of fines. The sub-base must have adequate drainage in order to keep it free of a fully saturated state. Lastly, the gravels must be properly compacted, typically to a level of 95% modified proctor.
Hot Mix Asphalt Pavement
Hot mix asphalt concrete (pavement) is commonly referred to as HMAC or HMA and it’s created by mixing aggregate (fine and course) and liquid asphalt. The HMA is then spread out onto the sub-base while it’s still hot and then compacted in place. Today HMA is one of the most popular road and driveway materials because it’s typically cheaper to install than concrete pavements and it can be used much sooner. The cost of asphalt driveways is typically calculated by the ton which is a reflection of the surface area and pavement thickness.
Sealing Asphalt Driveways
Another important step in ensuring a long lasting driveway is sealing. Sealing asphalt driveways is rather inexpensive and a typical DIY project for many homeowners. New driveways should not be sealed until the oils have been released from the surface and curing has occurred. Industry experts recommend waiting 90 days to 6 months after a new driveway installed before sealing it. Be sure to use a good quality coal-tar based sealer and follow the manufactures directions.
Cost Of Asphalt Driveways
If you’re interested in comparing asphalt driveway cost to the cost of concrete or gravel then it really depends on where you live. In areas where asphalt pavement is prevalent you’ll find gravel drives to be cheapest, followed by asphalt drive and lastly concrete driveways.
Photo Credit: Serendigity
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