A Complete Guide to Residential Asphalt Paving
Considering getting residential asphalt paving done?
Of the 75 million driveways in the US, 90% are made of either concrete or asphalt paving.
One of the reasons asphalt paving is so popular is because it’s affordable. However, it’s also durable, quick to install, and is a sustainable option.
That said, getting a driveway paved and choosing between driveway materials can be a daunting undertaking. If you’re feeling unsure about the benefits and process of laying asphalt, keep reading as we unpack everything in this guide to residential asphalt paving.
Benefits of Asphalt Paving
When decided whether to have asphalt paving put down, the first thing to get clear on is its pros and cons.
Here are some of the main benefits of asphalt paving.
One of the major draws of residential asphalt paving is its price point. Although asphalt paving doesn’t last as long as other options like concrete or pavers, it is the most affordable of all driveway materials (besides gravel).
Asphalt typically comes in at roughly half the cost of concrete. If you choose colored or stamped concrete, the price difference can be even more.
Another advantage of asphalt paving is its flexibility. Thanks to its slightly “spongy” nature, asphalt has some give to it. This can prevent it from developing cracks.
Cement paving is very prone to cracking. Heavy vehicles, high use, and impacts can quickly cause cracks to develop in the surface. Besides this, cold weather and freezing can also cause the cement to contract and crack.
Because asphalt paving has some flexibility, it can better withstand impacts, freezing, and heavy vehicles.
Besides being the most cost-effective option, asphalt is also recyclable, making it a more sustainable choice.
According to the last published analysis, asphalt is recycled at a rate of 80%. What’s more, asphalt is one material that can actually improve with recycling rather than degrade.
Quick to Install
Another advantage of residential asphalt paving is that it’s relatively quick to install. Unlike other paving materials that can take days to be installed, a well-equipped contractor can lay down a large area of asphalt paving in a matter of hours.
Can Be Installed Over Existing Paving
Finally, asphalt also shines as one of the easiest driveway materials to install thanks to the fact that you can choose to lay it over an existing driveway. This is not the case in every install, but, if your driveway has the right elevation and will provide a solid base, you overlay it with asphalt.
Being able to lay asphalt paving over existing driveway materials (such as concrete slab) can cut down on costs dramatically. This is because you won’t need to pay for removal of the existing driveway materials.
Drawbacks of Asphalt Driveways
Although asphalt holds various advantages, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any cons. When compared to other driveway materials, residential asphalt paving has a few drawbacks you should be aware of.
Once you know about them you can make an informed decision as to whether asphalt paving is right for your needs.
One of the primary disadvantages of asphalt driveways is they won’t last as long as other options like paving or concrete slab. They also require periodic maintenance, such as patching and sealing.
However, keep in mind that if you do carry out the right maintenance on your asphalt paving, it can last you for up to 20 years.
Besides requiring periodic maintenance, asphalt paving also limits your color options. Unlike cement that can be colored, asphalt has typically one signature color. Keep in mind though, colored cement paving materials typically aren’t as strong, and are more prone to cracking and chipping.
Another potential disadvantage of asphalt paving is that it’s prone to overheating and can become slightly soft in very hot conditions.
The Asphalt Installation Process
If you’re thinking of getting residential asphalt paving done, here’s what the installation process will look like.
To begin with, the contractor you choose will need to do an initial inspection and work with you to plan out where the paving needs to go. They will also want to map out where to direct runoff.
After this, they will need to prepare the base. If you’re starting with dirt, this will usually involve grading, leveling, and laying down aggregate. If you’re paving over an existing driveway base they might need to clean this up.
Once the asphalt pouring process begins, your driveway can start taking shape within as little as 40 minutes.
However, the asphalt will still require compacting, and then some time to cure. Usually, you should be able to drive on it after 2-3 days. However, curing times for hot mix asphalt can differ so be sure to check with your contractor.
Take note that residential asphalt paving will need roughly 30 days to cure and harden completely. Although you can drive on it during this time, you will need to avoid turning too sharply or bringing in heavy vehicles.
How to Get an Asphalt Installation Done
If you looking to get residential asphalt paving done, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a contractor who specializes in asphalt driveways.
Make sure you find a licensed, reliable contractor who carries out professional work. Avoid fly-by-night contractors and anyone who doesn’t specialize in asphalt.
The contractor you choose should have good online reviews, an established brand, a good name in your area, insurance, and the appropriate equipment to carry out asphalt installation. For instance, to properly compact asphalt, they should have at least a 1-ton roller at their disposal.
Once you have found a reputable contractor for your asphalt installation, you’ll need to schedule an appropriate time for the project to happen. Asphalt is usually best poured in the warmer months of the year.
Also, keep in mind that you won’t be able to use your driveway for a few days while the area is being prepped, poured, compacted, and left to cure.
Are You Considering Residential Asphalt Paving for Your Home?
Residential asphalt paving is affordable, durable, and easy to have installed.
However, you do need to pick a good contractor. Otherwise, you might end up throwing money at a driveway that’s going to deteriorate far quicker than it should.
We are a family-owned residential asphalt paving installation company, passionate about providing a good service and keeping our customers happy.
Get the ball rolling on your new driveway and contact us today for a quote.