If you’re considering paving your driveway with asphalt, you want to make sure you understand the entire process. You’ll want to know how long it takes, and what each step entails. Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect from the asphalt paving process.
Step 1 Of Asphalt Paving: Demolition & Removal
Before new asphalt can be paved, whatever old asphalt, concrete or pavers you currently have needs to be removed. Machines and workers will remove all concrete and asphalt and will haul any old material off-site.
This step involves heavy machinery like forklifts, front loaders and or large dump trucks. This machinery will depend on the size of the space you want paved. Often any debris or old pavement that is removed can be recycled into new asphalt.
Step 2: Grading & Sloping
Now that there is a clean surface, the layer underneath where the pavement goes will be prepared for water drainage. Laser guided transits and motor graders are used to grade the surface. This makes sure that water will appropriately run off your new pavement.
Without proper water drainage, your asphalt can get damaged with cracks, heaving, and potholes. So this step is essential in terms of the lifespan of your pavement.
Step 3: Prepare the Sub Base
Next, your sub-base will get prepared. This is the gravel or base under your old pavement, and sometimes it might need replacement. This base will be pitched and graded for the needed water drainage.
Once the sub-base is graded, then it’s compacted before the asphalt is installed. The sub-base is actually the most important part of your new asphalt surface, as it gives a stable surface to your new pavement.
Your sub-base also has a frost barrier which helps reduce any winter damage of thawing and freezing. The sub-base’s thickness, stability, and compaction are key factors in having a strong sub-base.
If your sub-base isn’t properly compacted, then your asphalt will not be durable for years.
Step 4: Proof Roll, Undercutting and Sub Base Repair
Now that the sub-base is compacted and fully graded, you’ll want an extra step of a proof roll. This ensures that the underlying surface is strong enough to support new asphalt.
This step might involve a quad-axle dump truck, that is loaded with 72,000 pounds to go over the entire surface row by row. If the gravel flexes any more than one inch under the truck’s weight, then you know the base is not supported properly.
Undercutting will then happen, which can repair any soft spots. During this step, digging below the surface of two to three feet will happen. Any underlying soft clay or soil will be replaced with an aggregate material that is stronger.
Another option is geo-grid instead of undercutting. Geo-grid digs only 16 inches below the surface and lays a grid down to help bridge base materials together. This makes a strong support structure for new asphalt while costing much less than standard undercutting.
There’s another process called plowing which undercuts the sub base, but instead, of removing all of the soil and soft clay, it mixes it with more aggregate. This improves the strength of any areas that can be compromised.
Step 5: Binder & Surface Course
Now that the sub-base is laid down, and all soft areas are repaired and identified, it’s time to add the binder. The binder layer is usually a large amount of aggregate that is mixed with oil, which makes it very durable and strong. The binder layer can also be thought of as strength to any new asphalt surface.
Step 6: Install New Asphalt Surface
Now that all the proper precautions have been made to sub-base, it’s time to lay the asphalt over the compacted gravel base. This happens using a paving machine, where concrete is poured onto the pavement.
Then the asphalt is compacted and rolled. When the concrete is leveled and finished, then it sits to set. Once the asphalt is set, a top layer of fresh asphalt is added which makes the surface clean and smooth.
Surface asphalt is made out of a little aggregate, sand, and oil. These materials make a jet black asphalt that when properly installed, makes an attractive shiny finished surface.
Step 7: Butt Joints & Transitions
It’s rare to install asphalt to a surface that doesn’t connect to another driveway, road or parking lot. Because of this, asphalt pavers need to find a way to smooth the area that transitions the old surface to the new.
These areas are called butt joints, and it’s where any old asphalt meets new asphalt pavement. These sections need special attention to make sure the grading and water runoff is correct. You want to make sure you pay extra close attention to butt joints to make sure drivers and pedestrians don’t notice the difference of surface.
Step 8: The Final Roll
Now that the asphalt and butt joints are all laid, you want to make sure the entire surface is compacted and smooth. To do this, you’ll need a roller truck, which goes over the new asphalt pavement to make sure it’s smooth and compacted.
This step makes sure there are no small bumps of aggregate or stones that are poking through the new smooth surface. You’ll want to make sure that your asphalt paving contractor follows all of these installation steps.
If one of these steps are skipped, then you jeopardize the longevity of your new asphalt surface. Proper asphalt pavement installation, will give you years of functioning durability for your home, business, town or city.
Make sure your installation process also follows the proper inspection of your surface, and that is included in your estimate.
Install Your Asphalt Pavement Today
Now that you know the entire process of asphalt paving, look into to getting your driveway or parking lot properly paved today. Speak with your contractor to make sure they are doing all of the proper steps, so your new pavement will last you as long as possible.
For more information on asphalt paving, contact us today!