If you have an asphalt driveway you know you have a great surface that is going to last you 15-20 years. If you are thinking about an asphalt driveway, keep reading. To help you understand the full benefits of an asphalt driveway installation, we have put together 8 steps to follow on asphalt driveway installation, repair and maintenance.
New Driveway Installation
Step 1: Grade And Water Run Off Evaluation
Your experienced asphalt contractor will be sure to examine the installation site and determine the pitch and slope for appropriate water runoff. Water is the one of five enemies of asphalt pavement, and should be considered before any installation begins.
Step 2: Foundation Installation
After the grade is carefully determined, the foundation of the driveway, or sub-base, will be laid. The sub-base is an important part of driveway installation for two key reasons:
- It provides a stable surface to support the pavement.
- It provides a frost barrier to help reduce winter damage due to freezing and thawing.
During the sub-base installation, there are key issues that must be addressed, including: drainage, base thickness, base stability, dimensions and compaction. The minimum thickness of the sub-base for most driveway installations is approximately 4 inches. The thickness of the base is often based on what the driveway will be used for. A normal residential driveway for car and SUV traffic, for example, usually requires 4-6 inches of sub-base. For heavy equipment, trailers or trucks, a deeper base is recommended.
Compaction is a very important step in the driveway installation process. If the sub-base is not appropriately prepared, the asphalt surface on the top will not provide you with years of durability.
Step 3: Good Installation Practices
Perhaps the most important aspect of driveway installation is a reliable installation team and a reputable asphalt contractor. Selecting a contractor that maintains their own asphalt plants, for example, means that your driveway asphalt will be crafted perfectly to meet your climate, drainage and surface needs.
A contractor that follows proper installation guidelines, like installation temperature and timelines, and proper surface preparation, will ensure that your driveway surface will be looking great for years to come.
Step 4: Regular Sealcoating
To maintain the strength and durability of your asphalt driveway surface, it is important to follow the maintenance recommendations of your installation team. This includes making a point to sealcoat your asphalt driveway 1-2 years after installation and every 5-10 years after that time. A sealcoat application helps protect the asphalt surface, reducing water penetration and the harmful effects associated with UV rays and harmful car pollutants.
Step 5: Crackfilling To Prolong Durability
In addition to sealcoating, it is important to crack-fill as cracks begin to appear in the surface. Cracks in the asphalt allow water to get into the sub-base and compromise the integrity and strength of the asphalt surface on top. Regularly filling cracks and applying sealcoat will ensure that water is not able to get under the surface and cause damage.
Step 6: Fill Potholes As They Appear
Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of water after it has entered into the ground under the pavement. The pothole repair process involves four important steps: clean, heat, add the new custom aggregate mix, and cool. Potholes should be repaired as soon as possible to help mitigate larger, more costly repairs.
Step 7: Consider An Asphalt Overlay To Prolong Lifespan
If your asphalt surface is looking dull or worn due to improper maintenance or initial installation, an asphalt overlay is a great option to give it a refreshed look. In many instances, an asphalt overlay can add 5-10 years to the lifespan of the asphalt surface.
Step 8: Always Hire A Reputable Contractor
Whether you are considering using Wolf Paving for your asphalt driveway installation or another local contractor, make sure you do your research. There are specific qualities you should look for in a residential paving contractor, including: ratings and customer feedback and experience with your type of asphalt paving project.
What do you think of our 8 Steps to Follow? Are there any questions left unanswered? Let us know in the comments?
With 75 years of asphalt paving experience, from highways to driveways, we are your local source for all of your asphalt paving needs.
For more information on Wolf Paving or to request a free quote for your next paving project contact one of our two offices. If you live or work in the Milwaukee area, call us at 262-965-2121. For the Madison area, call us at 608-249-7931.