What to Expect from a Reputable Paving Company
Not all driveway paving contractors are alike. The quality and durability of the pavements and driveways they produce show their abilities as a paving company.
When doing your research, ask to see the paving contractor’s portfolio of past projects. Here are some of the qualities of a good driveway. Consider these qualities when choosing between several potential paving contractors.descrip
Good Driveway Design
A well-designed driveway will give virtually trouble-free services for up to 20 years.
Driveways are built from the ground up so you need to start with a solid base.
- The sub-grade (the ground on which the driveway is laid) must be smooth, firm and even and contoured to match the layout of the driveway. It should be free of organic material and topsoil, especially clay.
- Use between 6 to 8 inches of properly-compacted crushed granular base aggregate (stone) on top of the sub-grade.
- For re-grading or widening driveways, specify enough crushed granular base aggregate to ensure proper drainage.
What you see is not necessarily what you get. Just because it is smooth doesn’t mean it’s good. It is the thickness and the compaction of the pavement that defines quality.
- Driveways need a minimum compacted thickness of 2 inches of hot mix asphalt. As a rule of thumb the compacted thickness of each layer is typically about three quarters the thickness of loose hot asphalt mix.
Every driveway paving contractor should quote the compacted thickness of the pavement in the contract to eliminate any confusion and avoid any disputes.
- For a more durable driveway use a 2-inch hot mix asphalt base course followed by a 1 1/2 inch surface course.
Since water drains off the asphalt pavement, keeping it away from buildings and from the sub-grade is critical.
- The pavement should have a slope from crown to edge – typically a quarter of an inch per food.
- An 18-inch fall is recommended for every 100 feet of driveway.
- Drainage must be away from buildings and water must not be allowed to rest on the edges of the pavement.
- Underdrains are not usually needed.
Quality Paving Materials
All asphalt pavements look alike to the untrained eye. Contrary to this belief, there is in fact a wide range of asphalt hot mixes. Each with specific properties to meet specific conditions.
For driveways where strength is not a particular concern, conventional HMA driveway mixes are perfectly acceptable.
- Typically a Class 1 mix (3/4 inch mix) works well as the base course.
- A Class 2 mix (1/2 inch mix) used for roads and parking lots can be used for the surface course although many prefer driveway mixes such as a Driveway mix (finer ½ inch mix) for their finer appearance.
- A good asphalt hot mix producer will ensure that the asphalt hot mix is appropriate for local environmental conditions.
Superior Pavement Construction
Most driveway paving contractors are in business for the long term – providing durable, well-built driveways. And while good contractors come in all shapes and sizes, they all share the same basic characteristics. This includes having well-maintained equipment, well-trained employees, and an interest in using only the best construction practices.
- The sub-grade should be smooth and firm. The contractor should remove soft areas and repair using compacted crushed aggregate.
- The granular base must be spread and compacted to a uniform thickness.
- The hot asphalt mix must arrive at the job site at the proper temperature. Seeing blue smoke means that the mix is too hot. If you use a mix that’s too hot, you may get some surface raveling and possible premature hardening.
On the other hand, if the mix is too cold, it will not compact properly. For best results, pave when the weather is warm and dry.
- Driveway paving contractors should not lay down more than 2 inches of compacted asphalt hot mix in a single lift.
- Unless access is severely limited, contractors should avoid hand placement of the asphalt hot mix.
- Rolling and compaction should start as soon as the hot mix asphalt can be compacted without displacement. Continue the process until the mix is thoroughly compacted and all roller marks have disappeared.
For more information, or if you’re looking to get a free quote for your driveway, get in touch.