Your driveway might not be the most glamorous component of your property, but it is certainly an area of importance. Along with the practical difficulties a malfunctioning driveway presents, an old, worn-out driveway lowers your home's curb appeal. If you are looking to repave your driveway or are thinking of paving for the first time, there are several things that must be taken into account during the planning stages.
Proper base preparation is probably the biggest factor in how well your driveway will hold up.
1.Why Choose Asphalt?
According to the National Asphalt Paving Association, about 94% of the nation's 2 million miles of paved road is surfaced with asphalt. Though there are certainly other options for your driveway, this figure speaks volumes on asphalt's proven ability to handle vehicle traffic effectively and affordably. Asphalt pavement is not just a popular choice, it's a surprisingly environmentally sound one, as well. Pound for pound, asphalt is the most recycled material in the U.S. and more than 99% of reclaimed asphalt is either recycled or reused--often in new paving projects.
2.Preparing for Asphalt Paving
If an existing driveway is to be repaved, preparation is relatively minimal as long as there are no drainage issues that must be remedied (diverting water to basements or garages, run-off that is powerful enough to cause significant erosion, etc.). When paving a driveway for the first time, however, a number of things must occur before the asphalt is put down.
The base that will support a new asphalt surface is extremely important; it must be strong enough to hold up under a significant amount of weight, but it must be porous so that water will not build up under the driveway's surface. In most cases, a 4-8 inch layer of course gravel is the material of choice for performing this dual role. The gravel itself must be positioned on a sturdy base, so it is often necessary to dig down below the topsoil until more solid ground is reached; even then, the earth may need to be compacted to give it more strength.
The base will need to be level as well as strong, and the slope of your property can have a dramatic affect on the amount of work that will go into your grading. The slope of your property can also play an important role in the actual shape of your new driveway.
Proper base preparation is probably the biggest factor in how well your driveway will hold up and any good contractor will be happy to explain all of the steps needed to make your driveway's base a sturdy one. In some areas of the country (particularly those with hard freezes during the winter months and those with extremely heavy rains), this process can be more costly. It is far better, however, to spend a little more up front for an excellent base than it is to replace your driveway 10 or 15 years before its time.
Though they might look very similar on the surface, there are actually several different types of asphalt being used today:
Perpetual Pavement: This design employs three different layers of asphalt (a flexible bottom layer, a sturdy central layer, and a hot-mix surface) to create one of the most durable, maintenance-free pavements on the market.
Porous Asphalt: This material allows water to drain through without sacrificing durability. An excellent choice in areas with drainage and run-off issues.
Quiet Pavement: Though still in the development stages, experts are hard at work trying to reduce road noise caused by tire-to-pavement friction. Not as much of a concern in driveways as it is in major highways, quiet pavement may still be an option that future homeowners will want to take advantage of.