A new asphalt driveway improves the appearance of your property and makes a good first impression on guests as they approach your house. If your driveway is old, it is probably faded and stained. It may even have cracks and holes in it. A contractor may be able to repair your existing driveway and make it look like new or you may need your old driveway torn out and replaced. Here's how the process works.
The Condition Of The Base Is Assessed
If the base underneath the asphalt is in good shape and the surface only has minor damage, then your driveway may be a good candidate for repairs. However, if there are problems with the base, those must be addressed rather than covered over or cracks will return. One of the biggest problems with driveways is water. Water gets under the asphalt and leads to soil shifting and cracking of the asphalt. This problem can be fixed by adding gravel to the base or by putting in a drainage pipe. Once the problem with the base is fixed, it is compacted so it is ready to have hot asphalt poured on.
The New Driveway Is Paved
If your old driveway is suitable for repairs, the contractor can do that by covering the cracks and holes with asphalt and then compacting the area. Once all the damaged portions are repaired, a new layer of asphalt can be put on top of the driveway. This is done with a paving machine that pours out hot asphalt and then rolls over it to compact it. The compacting step is important because the tighter the compaction, the less rain can seep through to the soil below.
If you're having a whole new driveway put in, the old asphalt is broken up and hauled away. The base is created and compacted. Proper drainage is ensured, then the hot asphalt is spread over the surface with a paving machine. The asphalt is hot when it goes on, but it cools off quickly. Depending on the outdoor temperature and humidity, you may be able to drive on the new asphalt in a couple of days.
A Sealcoat Adds Protection
To maintain the dark color of your driveway and to protect it from damage, you may want to have a sealcoat applied. This is a thin waterproof coating that repels water and protects from UV damage. You have to wait until your new driveway has fully cured before a sealcoat is put on, so you can't do it right away. Ask your paving contractor how long you should wait and then consider having it applied and reapplied every few years to prolong the beauty and life of your driveway.