Wolf Paving was once again featured in WTMJ’s “Mr. Fit-It” radio show to share some asphalt expertise in an interview lead by Milwaukee’s Tom Feiza. This program gives weekly advice on home improvements, repairs and do-it-yourself projects.
We’ve divided up the interview into three sections so you can quickly find the answers to your pavement questions! Click the radio clips to get in depth answers these common questions or check out our summary for an informative on-the-go response.
Q&A Highlights For Part 1:
What can a snow plow do to damage asphalt?
If your pavement is already damaged, a plow can make it worse. If you have alligator cracks, that’s a sign that your asphalt is having problems. The base underneath is failing, and the structure that’s holding up the asphalt is starting to disintegrate which makes it lose strength. When the snowplows come through they catch the edges and that can tear things up. We have a checklist that’s important to go through in the fall to prepare your parking lot or driveway for winter so that you don’t hook those edges. Some crack filling and preventative maintenance will help to not let the snow plow wreck it over the winter.
I’m looking to redo my driveway, it’s currently asphalt but I’ve heard about this green asphalt, is that something I’d use in a residential? And is it something I should be considering?
Green asphalt is a term we use in the industry for asphalt with recycled products in it. We recycle the old asphalt that comes out of driveways and parking lots, taking that back to our plant and process it down then add it back into the new mix. We also take roofing shingles, grind those down, and turn them into a powder. We add that back into the new asphalt as well. Once we put all these recycled products into the mix it becomes Green Asphalt. It’s got a lot of benefits. Asphalt oxidizes over time which makes it a little harder, the oils we recover from the roofing shingles and the old asphalt are already oxidized and it adds a little bit of strength to it. So, it’s a better product that virgin asphalt and it diverts a lot of material out of the landfills
I have a question about alligator cracking, is there a way to fix it without replacing the whole driveway? Like a crack filler?
Sure, depending on how severe it’s getting I would definitely suggest crack filling right away. The biggest problem that destroys a driveway is water getting underneath it, so you wanna keep that water out. Especially in the winter time, it will freeze and start pushing up. I would crack fill it immediately and try and to get that area to dry out because it’s gonna get real soft underneath when it gets wet.
True or False: is sealing a driveway good or bad?
It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Driveway sealing works great for UV ray protection. It also protects from gas spills or oil that drips from your car. The problem is people apply asphalt sealer too often, it’s almost like getting too many layers of paint on your house. When it gets too thick it will start flaking off. You need to wait about every other year, or maybe even every 3rd year, before you can put another coat on.
In general, what’s the best sealer (latex base, water base, oil base)?
Our industry is going to a latex based sealer. It’s the most environmentally friendly, and it’s easy to apply. You mix in a little water in with the asphalt, emulsifying it. That water will dry away in a latex sealer and you’ll be left with nothing but the asphalt.
If you don’t have the right surface drainage around the edges that can destroy your driveway, asphalt or concrete. We have a spring checklist and a fall checklist to show you how catch those trouble signs.
Q&A Highlights For Part 2:I’ve got a nasty driveway, blacktop, more pieces are coming out than staying in. I wanna have it redone, does all of that have to be dug out or do they just put a new layer on top of the ugly layer?
When it starts to get to that point it needs to be removed. When it comes to anything that’s coming apart that bad, trying to cover it up it will reflect right back through the top. If it’s really coming apart that bad you’re probably having some base problems underneath it. Asphalt is a flexible product, it gets its strength from what it’s sitting on so you must have a good gravel base.
I’ve got a cracked concrete driveway, could I put an inch of asphalt over it?
You could, but what’s gonna happen is that the concrete underneath is gonna move as one piece. And when it moves over the winter you’re gonna have a crack at every joint in that concrete. Any cracks that are in that concrete now are gonna reflect through. It’s not something we recommend. Have we done it? Yes, if we have to fix a drainage problem for a short-term basis but in the long run it’s not a good way to go.
We are looking to replace our driveway, it’s in decent shape, what do you think about tearing it all up and getting a new base vs shaving off the top and paving over the existing base?
Taking a bit off the top is called milling process, we have a milling machine that will grind an inch or two inches of asphalt off. If your driveway is in pretty good shape, and there aren’t a lot of cracks in it, it’s a possibility that can be done. Those milling machines are very heavy. Driveways aren’t built like roads are built to hold that machine up, generally we do a lot of milling on roadways and parking lots. You might be able to get away with it, but that mill might just push through the asphalt that’s left and brake through to that gravel base. If you have a lot of cracks now, milling and paving over will lead to those cracks still reflecting in the new asphalt.
Q&A Highlights For Part 3:
What’s the average life of asphalt sealant?
That’s a tough one. It depends on exposure to the sun, rain and everything else but you wanna let that sealer wear off before you apply another coat. It depends on how it was applied in the first place, you could be looking at some dry areas after a year or you could be waiting three years to apply your next coat. But you really want to let it wear down because you don’t want it to build up too thick by reapplying it.
When you do a base is it one kind of rock or stone?
It depends what we’re doing. If you’re going through a really wet area we might put some construction fabric down. Maybe a three-inch clear stone over that to get it to lock together, and then probably finish it off with an inch and a quarter crushed fine gravel. There are other times if you got a good base you could just put down the ¾ inch gravel,
You manufacture the product, is part of that recycling?
We probably recycle about 40,000 tons of roofing shingles a year. And you’re probably looking at 100,000 tons of concrete and asphalt combined. We’re probably creeping up on 250 or 300 thousand tons of material recycles a year.