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Did you know that there are different scenarios for residential driveway paving?

First is a driveway that needs to be installed where a previous driveway did not exist.

The second is a driveway that needs to be replaced.

This article will break down both residential driveway paving scenarios to help you decide which option is right for you.

Driveway Paving From Scratch
In scenario number 1, we’re talking about a new driveway build. This would be for situations a driveway needs to be installed in an area where there was never a preexisting driveway.

The process goes like this. The area is likely starting out as grass or soil. That means it needs to be prepared for the base or the foundation of the driveway.

When prepping a base for a new driveway, we need to dig down at least 12 inches. 9 of those 12 inches is going to be ¾ crushed limestone. That limestone gets compacted, and then it needs to sit and settle. In some cases, where the area is going to be a high-traffic road, or if heavy machinery/trucks are using it, we will go with two layers of asphalt on top of the crushed gravel.
On top of the limestone, there would be a three-inches base coat of HL6 or 8 or 9 aggregate. The classification of HL and the number describes the composition of the tar or sand in millimetres.

On top of the base coat, there will be an additional two inches on top consisting of finer asphalt, such as HL3a. The finer asphalt contains more sand and finer pieces of gravel so that it ends off in a smoother finish.

Remember that the strength of a driveway isn’t determined by the asphalt or concrete on top, it’s what’s underneath that counts.

This process is the same for residential driveways as well as commercial, although in the case of commercial application (such as parking lots) the surface area is much larger.

Replacing Driveway Surface

Let’s talk about the second scenario. In new subdivisions, the construction companies have come in, roughed in the driveways and poured concrete, and there is usually a single coat of asphalt on the existing driveway area. You can usually tell a second layer of asphalt is needed because of the space between the garage floor and the level of the driveway. There’s usually a two inch drop or more, depending on the settling of the structure.

Some residents want to take out the existing asphalt from the contractor installed driveway and replace it with all new material. That is often more prudent than simply resurfacing the existing asphalt surface, however that option doesn’t fit everyone’s budget.

In new subdivisions, you can tell when there have been multiple houses all built within the same year. All the driveway prep pads will be down, and conditionally they should all be the same. You save a lot of money if you only need to order a layer of asphalt tack, but you’ll want to keep your eye on the surface to ensure there aren’t any deeper structural issues from the area settling. Keep in mind that most subdivisions are all built on top of newly graded soil, and that the weight of new houses coupled with freezing and thawing of earth around the foundation will have a dramatic effect on your driveway foundation.

You can tell that a driveway need to be replaced by looking at it, there will be heaving and sinking and cracking. Your best bet in a case like that is to take out what’s there, re-prep the area and recover it with fresh asphalt.

When we do asphalt press on top of existing asphalt we’ll use asphalt glue. It’s a liquid material that adheres the new top layer to the existing surface. If there is no separation between the two layers, then it lessens the chance of water damage affecting the driveway.

The best option for asphalt replacement on an existing driveway is to remove all the asphalt and the existing base gravel, re-base the area and then asphalt again. In this process, we’ll be digging down about twelve inches, putting in a load of crushed gravel, and then layering asphalt on top of that.

In some cases, for those who have budget considerations, you can remove the top layer of asphalt, then re-grade the base and top off with ¾ crushed limestone, letting that sit and settle, and then usually 4 – 6 weeks later reapply the final asphalt layer.

When we look at residential concrete driveway and residential asphalt paving resurfacing jobs in the local community, most customers just want to have the existing asphalt or concrete removed and replaced. In many cases, the existing base is pretty good to work with, especially when the subdivision is a little older and the driveway has been laid down 2 -3 times. This means that the ground has been well compacted, so you’ll be pretty safe to go with the removal of the top layers and re-asphalting.

We’re Here to Help

If you’re not sure whether your driveway needs to be replaced or regarded, give us a call. We will come out to your property and do a free assessment of what you need. We inspect every job on-site when we give a quote. Every phone call that comes into our office, we offer a free on-site inspection and quote for our services. Normally we can get to your property within 72 hours of receiving a call. We’ll give you a written estimate and some options as to what the best course of action will be.