Properly-designed asphalt driveways will give virtually trouble free service for up to 20 years.
The base: Since driveways are built from the ground up, you need to start with a solid base.
• The subgrade (the ground on which the driveway is laid) must be smooth, firm, even and contoured to match the layout of the driveway. It should be free of organic material and topsoil. This is critical because failure in driveways generally occurs from subgrade deficiencies.
• Generally, you should specify to the contractor that you want between 6 to 8 inches of properly compacted crushed granular base aggregate to ensure adequate stability.
• For re-grading or widening existing driveways, verifying there is enough crushed granular base aggregate to ensure adequate stability.
The pavement: It is the thickness and the compaction of the pavement that define quality. Just because it is smooth doesn't mean it is good.
• Residential driveways require a minimum compacted thickness of 2 inches. The contractor should recommend a final minimal compacted thickness based on local soil conditions and truck traffic.
• If the conditions warrant it, a reputable contractor will quote you a minimum thickness greater than 2 inches and explain why you need a thicker pavement. The thicker your pavement, the longer your driveway will last.
The drainage: Making sure the water drains off your driveway and away from buildings is vital.
• To accommodate proper drainage, an absolute minimum of 1% slope(1.25" drop per 10 feet) is required.
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A well designed, well-built and well-maintained hot mix asphalt driveway adds value to your house. It is economical, durable, long lasting and easy to maintain. So when it comes to your driveway, how do you get the perfect asphalt pavement for your home? Just remember these three basics: good design, quality materials, and superior construction.
Although most asphalt pavements may look alike, there is in fact a wide range of hot mix asphalt mixes with specific properties to meet specific conditions.
• A good hot mix asphalt producer will ensure that their product is appropriate for local conditions and projected traffic/loading factors.
• To ensure you get quality hot mix asphalt, make sure your laydown contractor belongs to the Wisconsin Asphalt Pavement Association(WAPA) and gets the mix from a WAPA member.
Most driveway paving contractors are in business for the long term - providing durable, well built driveways. While good contractors come in all shapes and sizes, they all share the same basic characteristics: well-maintained equipment, well-trained employees and an interest in using only the best construction practices.
• The subgrade should be smooth and stable. The contractor should remove soft areas and replace these areas with compacted crushed aggregate.
• To prevent future settling, ensure that all new or disturbed base has been properly compacted.
• The granular base must be installed and compacted to a uniform thickness.
• The hot mix asphalt must arrive at the job at the proper temperature.
• A reputable driveway contractor will not lay down more than 3" of compacted hot mix asphalt in a single layer.
• Machine laid asphalt provides the best results.
• Proper compaction is achieved through the use of mechanical rollers and compactors.
When getting a new driveway, how can an average homeowner make sure the the contractor does a good job an leaves them with a product that will last? Here are some suggestions:
• Deal only will reputable contractors. If someone knocks at your door offering a special price because they happen to have some asphalt left over from a job down the street, shut the door as quickly as possible! Reputable contractors do not operate in this manner.
• When getting multiple quotes, make sure that everyone is quoting on the same quantities and the same specifications. Take special care to make sure that the asphalt thickness quoted is compacted thickness.
• Remember that the lowest price is not always the best price.
• A reputable contractor will provide references upon request.
• Prior to construction, address issues like who is responsible for things like moving fences, lights and overhead wires, who is responsible for replacing damaged grass, plants, bushes, and trees or any other potential concerns you may have.
• Verify that the contractor has called Diggers Hotline.
• Make sure that you call your local municipality to verify whether you need to have a permit and that the new construction will meet city codes and placement requirements.
• Check your property boundary before you begin. If you don't you may up paving on your neighbor's property.