Installing a new asphalt driveway is a big investment, whether replacing an old and worn driveway or putting in an entirely new surface. Fortunately, asphalt is a long-lasting material that's likely to provide many years of service, but that doesn't mean every driveway will be equally durable. Getting the most from your asphalt means making the right choices before, during, and after installation.
Before: Preparation and Grading
Every asphalt driveway relies on a strong and solid foundation. Inadequate support or poor drainage can cause the asphalt to shift, resulting in cracks, potholes, and more severe issues. Poor grading can also allow water to pool on the driveway, increasing the likelihood of moisture finding its way beneath the surface and into the vulnerable subgrade.
Choosing a good contractor is the best way to ensure that your driveway's surface preparation receives the attention it deserves. Depending on your needs, this preparation may involve demolishing your old driveway and preparing the ground for new asphalt. However, even if you have an existing driveway, it's still critical to check and adjust the grade since the ground can shift over time.
Preparation also includes installing the correct sub-base to support your new driveway. This layer typically consists of gravel or similar aggregate material, and it's an integral, load-bearing part of your driveway. Proper sub-base selection and installation are essential to a long-lasting and durable driveway installation.
During: Compaction and Testing
Once the sub-base is in place, installing asphalt is a multi-step process that involves laying in the binder and aggregate and ensuring adequate compaction and load-bearing capabilities. Note that there are many different types of asphalt binders, and your contractor will select the one best suited for your climate and usage.
This process will also involve compacting the asphalt layer and checking for inconsistencies or problems with the installation. These steps will typically reveal any weak spots in the foundation, allowing your contractor to make adjustments or repairs. Taking the time to properly compact and test your asphalt will help avoid premature failures and repairs.
After: Maintenance and Repairs
Finally, the most important thing you can do as a homeowner to extend the life of your new asphalt is to keep up with maintenance and repairs. Sealcoating will help protect your new surface from contamination and UV damage, but it's also important to monitor for damage and conduct repairs as needed.
Repairing cracks and potholes as you discover them will prevent water from reaching your asphalt's foundation layers, minimizing the likelihood of damage that can shorten its life and cause more expensive problems. These steps, along with a careful installation performed by an experienced contractor, will ensure your driveway enjoys the longest possible life.
For more info about asphalt paving, contact a local company.