Q&A / 

Asphalt Paving Material

There are different types of mixes of asphalt paving materials. The type and quality of asphalt cement and the size of the aggregate (rocks) account for the differences. The smaller the aggregate, the weaker the finished product will be. Most people want a very smooth finished surface. This requires the mixture to have smaller aggregate. If this is what you want, your installer may have to install two layers of paving material. The first layer will be slightly thicker and have slightly larger rocks. The finish layer will be thinner (1 to 1 1/4 inches) and have smaller stones and coarse sand. Always make sure that a tack coat of asphalt is used between layers. This acts as a glue to bond the layers together. A tack coat is not necessary if the second layer is applied shortly after the first layer.

If you are repaving an existing driveway, beware of reflection cracks! Reflection cracks are cracks that develop in the new pavement directly above existing cracks in the old pavement. This is a big problem if you install asphalt paving over concrete. The latest technology suggests that a few days after the blacktop is installed, you should consider saw cutting slots in the new blacktop directly above the existing cracks. These sawcuts will be straight and can be filled with a flexible crack sealer.

If repaving, absolutely make sure that all dust and dirt is removed from the old surface. Remove all vegetation from cracks and the edge of the driveway as well. Be sure to fill any low spots with patching material prior to applying the finish layer of blacktop.

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Sealing & Maintenance

Many associations recommend that you seal your new driveway one year after it is installed. Be sure to use a high quality commercial bituminous water emulsion sealer. If your drive is on a hill, consider using a sealer which contains sand.

Do not seal your driveway every year! Sealers are coatings, just like paint. You can easily apply too much and the coatings will begin to crack and peel. Only reseal the driveway after you can clearly see that the old sealer is wearing. When the color of the aggregate (rocks) begins to show, it is time to reseal. Because the sealer will wear off faster in areas where there is foot and car traffic, apply sealer to the non-traffic areas a little thinner. Otherwise, you will begin to get a buildup of sealer which may begin to crack and peel.


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