Asphalt is the perfect material for driveways. It is flexible, durable, easy to maintain, and easy to repair. It can also be installed over an existing driveway surface such as concrete. The old surface material just needs to be clean, dry, and intact. Any cracked or crumbling material should be removed before the asphalt is applied. Installing an asphalt driveway is not a do-it-yourself task but you can take part in the site preparations, especially if your project is a small one. Basically, the new asphalt can be applied over the existing surface as noted above or the driveway site can be excavated for an aggregate base. The preferred method of asphalt installation is to excavate the site and install an asphalt base of several inches, then install a 2″ thick top coat of asphalt to finish the job.
- Lay out the design of your driveway.
- Remove any fences or gates that may interfere with the asphalt surface.
- Remove any vegetation such as plants, shrubbery, or grass.
- Excavate the driveway down to the specified depth.
- Compact the soil. This will take a piece of power equipment that your asphalt contractor will most likely supply. If your project is small, you can also rent a compacter to do the job.
- Weather is an important factor in laying asphalt.
- If the asphalt is no more than 1 1/2″ thick, the optimum temperature for installation is 70 degrees because the asphalt will cool and harden rapidly.
- For a layer of 2″ or more, the asphalt can be laid at temperatures down to 40 degrees.
- Moisture is also an important consideration. The weather must be dry for at least 24 hours in order to lay asphalt successfully.
- It usually does not take long to lay asphalt for a competent contractor.
- As in any project, attention to detail is what guarantees a professional job.
- After the asphalt is laid down, it should be leveled, the edges trimmed, and the whole surface compacted. Compaction is usually accomplished with a roller. This is a large piece of equipment but, if your job is relatively small, you can rent a roller that will suffice.
Stay off the new asphalt application for at least 24 hours in order to let it harden properly.
Keep the asphalt drive clean by sweeping it regularly.
Clean any stains with a mild detergent and water as soon as they occur.
Seal the asphalt each year to help prolong its life span.