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10 Things You Need to Know About Pavement Installation

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Photo credit: k2 Photo Projects / Bigstock

Every spring, families look at their driveways and decide they can’t go another year without repairs. They also might decide to add a new drive while they’re at it. If you need a new or repaired driveway, but all you know about blacktop are the warnings about poorly constructed ones, there are several simple topics to discuss with a contractor. Today we’ll talk about 10 things you need to know about pavement installation.

10. Add-ons needed

If you are laying a new drive, decide if you might want outdoor lighting cable laid in the trench made for the asphalt. This is an excellent chance to run this cable or even plant bushes along the side of your new drive.

9. Get a guarantee

A warrantee or guarantee is a must as it is in any contracted work on your property.

8. Get new asphalt

Pavement is held together by sharp stone locking together with the tar as a binder. Recycled asphalt tends to have rounded stones that will be less adherent to tar and not lock together well.

7. Know your driveway

If your drive has performed well for more than 10 years and you want to repair it, the substrate is probably well made. Ask the contractor to check it especially near large cracks and holes.

6. Heavy is better

Asphalt (and the materials underneath) should be compacted with heavy rollers.

5. What about drainage?

Be sure the contractor explains how and why a new drive will drain correctly, and where that water is going. Driveways might need a drain or drains with pipes included, or the homeowner might need to direct water through the yard and away from the house.

4. Curbs and radii

If you need a curb, make sure the radius near the street is correct by your community’s regulations.

3. Depth of substrate

Compacted gravel under the asphalt must be 6-8 inches thick.

2. Depth of asphalt

Compacted asphalt must be at least 2 inches thick.

1. Know your contractor

The first and most obvious thing to know is to get a contractor with references and a favorable history in your town. Never have a drive laid down by someone who comes to your door and says they were “in the neighborhood” doing work. Your contractor should spell out exactly what materials and dimensions will be included.


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