03 Aug Important Information for Homeowners
Beware of Dishonest Paving Contractors
Unfortunately for the honest paving contractors out there, this profession has a reputation for scams and conmen. Watch out for:
- Contractors who find you, rather than you finding them.
- Contractors who say they have leftover asphalt from another job and will cut you a good deal.
- Contractors who seem to be moving through the area, rather than local, permanent contractors.
Please remember in a recession many companies will do whatever it takes to get your business, which means skimping on materials and craftsmanship. With over 50 years combined experience, local home owner and businesses have relied on us to produce the very finest pavement, at the lowest possible price.
How to Find an Asphalt Paving Contractor
- Local reputation. Seek out projects that are more than a year old and have withstood snow, rain, and sun–and that still look good and function well.
- Paving contractors don’t necessarily have to be licensed as contractors, but if they happen to be–and they have a clean record–that’s a plus.
Install Asphalt Paving Over Existing Driveway
If your existing driveway is in good condition and is not severely cracked or crumbling, the hot-mix asphalt can be laid right on top of your driveway. One consideration, though, with laying on top of existing pavement is height. Are there fences, garages, and other structures that might make it impossible to raise the height of your driveway?
Rip Out Existing Driveway; Install Asphalt Paving on Aggregate Base
With this option, an aggregate stone base partially replaces some of the hot-mix asphalt. Typically 5-8 inches of aggregate go under 2 1/2 inches of asphalt.
Conditions Must Be Right to Lay Asphalt
Hot-mix asphalt is sensitive to temperate and moisture. Warmer temperatures are better because they give the contractor more time to work with the asphalt before it hardens.
Temps should be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit in order to lay 1 1/2 inches of asphalt. If the contractor is using more asphalt (2 inches or more), he can work with a greater range of temperatures–down to 40 degrees is possible. Wind will shrink the window of time, as will moisture. In fact, too much moisture and the job may be delayed.
Asphalt Paving Goes Down
With all the preparations done, the actual asphalt paving goes fast. Blink and you may miss it. An average driveway may take as little as 60 minutes to at least begin to look like a finished product. However, more time will be needed to compact the asphalt. And then of course, the asphalt needs to harden. While you’ll probably be able to drive on it within 1 to 2 days, the contractor will most likely recommend that you wait 3 to 5 days just to make sure the asphalt has time to cure especially on extra warm days.
If your driveway is free and clear of other structures, this last step may be unnecessary. However, you may have had to remove fences or gates prior to laying the driveway. These structures must be re-installed and often re-configured to accommodate the higher pavement.
Now that you have a nice, new driveway, you’ll want to occasionally have your driveway sealed by a professional to prevent water from working into the surface pores. Oil base sealer is much better than water base sealer but comes with an additional expense. If cracks begin to develop over time–even the smallest ones–apply a crack sealer to keep cracks from getting larger.