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If you have an existing driveway the first step will be to remove the asphalt layer. We then prepare the base layer the new asphalt will be placed over. The goal is to ensure that your new driveway drains correctly and is built on a stable, compacted sub-layer that will prevent movement. The base layer is typically crushed course gravel. This is rolled and compacted to form your stable base layer. Hot asphalt is then applied over the base to a height of 3 inches and then rolled and compacted to 2.5 inches. This results in a driveway that will typically offer about a 20 year lifespan.
The time required to pave your driveway depends on the size of the driveway, whether it’s a new driveway or a repaving job, and the amount of time required to prepare the base layer. Generally speaking it takes about two days. After the driveway is paved you will want to avoid driving on it for three days. This can be inconvenient but its required to allow the driveway to harden. In very hot weather it may take an extra day. You will want to avoid walking on it for 24 hours as well. After you are able to drive on it you should avoid making sharp wheel turns while stationary, avoid parking any heavy equipment on it and avoid parking motorcycles with kick-stands that might puncture the surface. Your new driveway will continue to cure and harden for a year after it is installed. Its total lifespan after that should approach 20 years depending on use, care, weather and drainage.
We pave with asphalt, specifically hot asphalt. The asphalt itself is made of two different materials, bitumen and aggregate. Bitumen is a very heavy petroleum product that has the consistency of molasses when heated but hardens into a rock-like solid at normal outdoor temperatures. Mixed in with the bitumen is aggregate. Aggregate is basically fine grained stone and mineral materials. This is what gives asphalt its course finish and provides strength and traction to your driveway. Paving contractors generally get their asphalt from one of two vendors in the state and the asphalt provided has to meet rigid standards for its compositions. Its delivered at a very high temperature and needs to be laid quickly to avoid it cooling and hardening before the application and rolling is completed.
First of all, understand that NO materials will be left behind at your home after a driveway paving. The used asphalt material and any base layer we remove are recycled. Asphalt is actually one of the most recycled materials in the world. It can be reused as paving material, added to road and highway paving and used as fill in other materials.
If you have cracks in your asphalt or a section of driveway that has broken into small blocks (often called “alligator cracks”) you are experience one of a few possible problems:
- The driveway itself may be near the end of its useful life.
- You may have drainage problems related to the base layer of your driveway.
- You may have one single section that has been damaged or was never installed correctly in the first place.
Filling in the cracks on your driveway will buy you some time and may also halt or at least slow further cracking. The crack fill will prevent water from getting under the remaining asphalt where freezing and thawing are working to break the driveway apart. A patch involves cutting out a damaged section and then filling and compacting the patch area with new asphalt. In both cases the driveway will look filled and/or patched. There is just no getting around that. Since asphalt fades on the surface over time, the crack fill and patch will be a darker color. You may want to consider sealcoating the driveway after either of these repairs are completed to give your driveway a uniform appearance. If the cracks are simply there because the asphalt has surpassed its useful life you may want to consider completely repaving the driveway as well. We are happy to work within your budget to provide whichever repair options you choose.
A permit is required to pave or repave your driveway and that is something that we handle for you. The permit is required in order to ensure that the driveway connects correctly with the town’s right of way, that the driveway doesn’t encroach a neighbors property and that the work is being done by a licensed, insured and bonded contractor (we are all three of those by the way). There is nothing you need to do as the property owner.
From the time your driveway is paved it is exposed to UV rays, heating and freezing with the seasons, and possible oil and gas spills. All of these things work to damage your driveway. Sealcoating works to block UV rays from the asphalt, it prevents water and ice penetration and provides a protective layer against chemical spills that can erode the asphalt. The result is an extended life for your driveway at a price that is less than a complete repaving.
Before we sealcoat a driveway we make sure to prepare the surface by cleaning off any loose debris. We may also apply degreaser to any fresh oil stains. The surface has to be dry and the temperature should be above 50 degrees for the best result. We then apply sealcoat either in spray form or brushed on depending on our agreed approach. The sealcoat itself is a petroleum product that also contains sand to maintain driveway traction. The coating is applied with care to avoid any of the material being applied beyond the boundaries of the driveway. The process results in a dark and uniform finish that protects the underlying asphalt while making the driveway look brand new.
Yes, in fact its important that the cracks are filled first to achieve the smoothest finish possible. Prior to the application of sealcoating the cracks are filled with an asphalt product that works to prevents any further water or ice formation and subsequent cracking. If any patching is also including that would be done prior to the sealcoating as well. The goal is to create as uniform a finish as possible.
The length of time it takes us to sealcoat your drive depends on the size of the driveway, the amount of prep required and the amount of crack fill and patching it might require. normally the entire job is finished in a single day. Once the work is done the driveway should be allowed to dry for at least 24-36 hours before anyone drives on it.
Sealcoating should normally last 2-3 years and can be re-applied more than once. If you are considering sealcoating a newly paved driveway you should wait at least one year for the driveway to completely harden before applying sealcoating.
Sealcoating will bond and adhere to the underlying asphalt it’s applied to. It will make the surface appear to be freshly paved but it doesn’t actually rejuvenate the asphalt underneath. What it does do is provide a protective barrier layer against UV fading, water penetration and oil, gas and solvent stains that can eat through your existing asphalt.
Asphalt Paving and sealcoating services
We hope that we have been able to answer at least some of the questions you have regarding driveway paving, sealcoating and repair. We don’t expect that we can answer them all from a website. With that in mind why not give us a call? You will speak to an owner, not a salesmen. You will get detailed and specific answers to your questions and at a minimum you will come away better informed and with a clear idea of what your options are. If you already know what you’d like done we are also glad to come out and meet with you and provide a free, no obligation quote.