What To Consider When Going For An Asphalt Driveway?

Most of the people these days, who own their own garage, prefer to ensure that they have aesthetically beautiful and durable driveway leading to it. This is what makes asphalt a perfect material to use. Asphalt is actually a bitumen material in which tar is used for the binding purpose.

 

This material is durable, comparatively cheap and also has easy maintenance. Hence the driveways made out of this material are gaining popularity over concrete driveways. Although concrete driveways are much more durable, they are also expensive and less beautiful aesthetically. The various advantages that an asphalt driveway provides above the traditionally used concrete driveway are listed below:

1. These are much more inexpensive than the concrete driveways. The installation charges of these driveways are almost half than that of concrete driveways. This is the reason for “asphalt driveway repair” not being a very worrying issue for people.
2. Aesthetically they provide a great appearance to your driveway.
3. The maintenance works of these driveways are also much easier than that of a concrete driveway.
4. Due to the temperature changes the concrete driveway may end up having cracks and usually suffers frost heaving in winters.
5. Although overtime cracks may appear on both concrete and asphalt driveways and each can be repaired, repairing cracks on the latter is much easier and does not require any special tools or skills.

These advantages show why the asphalt driveways are becoming the trend of the coming times. Although asphalt driveway installation is an easy process it requires operating some heavy and costly instruments and machines and hence requires hiring some professionals. Also let us take a look at a few tips one should know in order to ensure the hired contractor does his work correctly.

1. Ensure that you hire a contractor you feel comfortable working with and that the person has proper equipments and carries out his work thoroughly. Read the contract you sign with him properly.

2. The new driveway is not to be constructed without first removing the remains of the old materials. Hence remove the old scraps. Also ensure that the subsoil is sufficiently strong or you will need to replace it with new soil.

3. Ensure that the driveway is installed properly at the correct slope to have proper drainage.

4. Base, once prepared, has to be allowed to settle for almost a week. This helps in making the base stronger. Many times contractor skips this period to save time.

5. Remember that use of smaller size aggregates gives a smoother finish but larger sized aggregates give greater strength.

6. The asphalt formed at the edges should be at 45 degree angle to allow for drainage.

7. The driveway should be compacted with a heavy roller.

8. Determine if you will be requiring any legal clearances before you start the work and obtain these before you begin the installation of the driveway.

Asphalt driveway leading to the house
Repairing and sealing an asphalt driveway

Even though asphalt is highly durable, the effect of heat, differential heating and cooling, oil, dust, continuous wear and tear and water eventually manages to degrade these driveways and hence it require proper maintenance. Asphalt driveway maintenance is not a very expensive issue if one knows the ins and outs of it well enough. If properly looked after and repaired from time to time, these driveways may even stay into service for 30 years.
Hence below a few steps have been mentioned about how to service and repair your driveway.

Steps by step guide to repairing and maintenance

If you choose the do it yourself method for repairing, here is a brief list of the things to be considered. It can be split in two main parts:

Part one – Cleaning the driveway

1. Before we go around filling and sealing asphalt driveway, we first need to clean it properly to get rid of the weeds or loose gravels it might be having. Hence we can use an ice-chipper or a spade or any other lawn edging tool to remove the grass or the weeds out of the cracks off the driveway.
2. Then using the blast of compressed air or the force of water from the hose of garden pipe we can remove the loose gravels and bitumen from the cracks.
3. Then we have to brush off the debris using the broom.
4. Now it is important to remove any oil stains or dirt remaining on the driveway. You can use little diluted driveway cleaners (available in market) and scrub of the stains. Some of the stains may require to be repeatedly scrubbed to be removed.
5. Then again use the force of the water out of the hose to clean the driveway. It would be advantageous to force the water down from the uphill side.
6. Hose the driveway with as much pressure as possible to ensure it gets completely clear of dirt.
7. Then we can use the vacuum to remove all the debris which is loose in the cracks. We have to ensure that the cracks are completely clean and dry before we can start with the filling work. Hence allow the driveway sufficient time to dry off properly.

Part two – Repairing work

1. For the cracks which are small and of the size of about 3 mm to 12 mm wide we can simply use rubberized asphalt crack filler. These are usually filled with caulking gun or can be simply poured. Then using the putty knife we have to smooth the surface to avoid having any of the filler from staining the smooth surface.
2. If the cracks are of larger size or of the size of potholes then an entire pack of cold-patch blacktop is shoveled into the hole. We have to fill the material in different layers. Then we use the iron rake to level the entire area. We then have to compact the entire material after filling one layer. Then fill in another layer and compact it. We have to fill in the entire hole in this manner and overfill the layer by a little. Once a little over filled we have to cover it with a piece of flat plywood and then drive on it a bit to flatten the entire surface. Then we cure the surface with a little moisture to allow it to gain strength. Pour a little amount of acrylic sealer on the driveway. Then spread the sealer over the entire larger surface with the help of a brush. Do not allow any extra amount of sealant material to remain on the surface. Give it some time to bind.
Following the above steps properly and precisely would help you in repairing this type of driveway very effectively, and with ease.

Thing to consider in case of ASPHALT RESURFACING

Many times it so happens that inspite of properly maintaining the driveway, the degradation is so much that more than 25% of the driveway require repair work. At such times it becomes more economical to resurface asphalt driveway with Hot Asphalt.

Cost of an Asphalt Resurfacing Project
The cost of such a project usually ranges from $1 to $3 per square foot and largely varies depending on a few factors such as the ones mentioned below in a few points.

o    Condition of the driveway.
The condition in which the driveway currently is will have a major effect in deciding the cost of the resurfacing job.

o    Quality of materials used.
Always ensure that the contractor you hire uses the quality, thickness and density of materials which meets the standard specifications. However higher the quality, greater the cost will be.

o    The contractor.
Always try inquiring for more than one contractor before giving in the work to the one you are comfortable with. It is always handy to have knowledge of the rates from more than one source.

Things to be careful about while getting a resurfacing job done.
Below we have listed some point that you should consider when choosing to hire a contractor to get your project done.

o    To ensure that the proper quality of resurfacing is done and you get what you pay for, it would be beneficial to go in for a detailed contract. Because it may so happen that the contractor did a lower quality work but with good finishes. You may end up being fooled until the day when the first rain hits the driveway.
o     Also ensure that the contract includes a proper guarantee for the quality of the driveway and the durability.
o    Also ensure the contract specifies the number of layers in which the work is to be done.
o    Never forget to discuss it out with the contractor it you need specific legal clearances before work can be carried out for your driveway and mention it in the contract as to who should obtain these permissions and legal clearances.
o    Also, never hire a contractor who comes down to your home knocking at the door for the work to be done at a special discount because of extra material he has remaining from the previous job. He might as well turn out to be a fraud.
o    Also lay down exact specifications as to the thickness of layer to be resurfaced.
o    Never pay the lump sum amount and always pay him in installments as the work is progressing as it will help you to get maximum productivity and it gives you proper idea as to how the money is being spent in the construction of driveway. You should also decide and mention the time and amount of installments in which you will pay the contractor

Conclusion

Always analyze the amount of damage the driveway has undergone before going for either of resurfacing or repair. Asphalt driveways are awesome for the overall aesthetic view of your house and garage and hence highly worth the money you need to put in for its installation, maintenance, and repairs, as the cost of asphalt driveway is less than that of a concrete one anyway. Hence asphalt score above the other traditional materials used for constructing driveways in almost all the points and is a perfect choice.