When you choose to install an asphalt driveway in your yard, you expect the pavement to last as long as possible and be durable. Whether you are hiring the work and installation to a professional asphalt company or doing any of the work yourself, there are certain steps and tips to help make the asphalt remain strong and durable and to hold up under use. Here are three tips for ensuring your asphalt is a strong and durable surface and can last many years.
Build a Strong Foundation
One of the most important structures to your asphalt driveway is its foundation. A durable foundation is one that is firm but has proper drainage to allow moisture to flow beneath your asphalt without it causing the surface materials to shift or heave during freeze-thaw patterns.
Before you can install your asphalt pavement over the leveled and prepared site, determine what type of soil sits on the site where the driveway will be installed. Poorly draining soil will be comprised mostly of clay and will clump together in your hand when you take a fist-full amount of it. If your soil crumbles apart after you have compressed and released it in your hand, your soil contains more sandy material and has better drainage qualities. You can also hire a construction engineer to have your soil tested. This can be helpful, especially if your driveway will cover a large area of your soil and you suspect your soil quality varies greatly.
After you have determined the soil quality on your driveway's site, you can install the appropriate amount of base gravel for adequate drainage. For poorly draining clay soil, it is recommended to install eight inches of crushed or angular gravel. For soil that has good quality drainage and contains sand, it is recommended to only install four inches of angular gravel. After the gravel has been poured onto the site, it is important that it is compacted together with a compactor roller or a compacting machine. This process presses the gravel together to level it and also causes the edges of the angular gravel pieces to grip at one another, creating an interlocking and durable under-layer.
Form Durable Edging
After the asphalt has been poured onto your driveway site, the edge formation of the surface will help the pavement remain intact and prevent edge cracks from forming. As the asphalt is compacted with a roller, it is recommended to slope the edges and compact them in place to create a 45 degree angle. This provides a gradual slope from the asphalt's surface thickness and helps it blend in with the surrounding landscaping.
Then, you can add soil, gravel, or other durable landscaping material over the angled edges of the asphalt. This will provide extra strength to the edging material and prevent the edging from breaking off if a vehicle drives off the side of the asphalt's surface. If any part of your asphalt's edging breaks off from vehicle weight, it cannot be repaired. It is difficult to patch new asphalt material onto an existing surface and get it to remain in place. So, trying to patch the edges of your driveway will not work properly and the patches will continue to crack off the edges.
Complete Regular Maintenance
After you asphalt has been fully installed, it is important to take care of it over its lifetime to keep it well-maintained and lasting as long as possible. This includes keeping it free of vehicle fluids, such as gasoline, oil, and brake fluids. Use an asphalt cleaner or degreaser cleaner to clean and rinse any vehicle fluids form the surface of your asphalt as soon as possible to prevent the asphalt from breaking down and eroding.
It is also recommended to patch any cracks that form over the surface of your asphalt. Before applying your cold patch asphalt filler, remove any vegetation and dirt from the crack with a sharp tool and a pressure washer, then fill the patch level with the surrounding area. This helps prevent the cracks from increasing in size and leading to pothole damage. Reseal your asphalt pavement every few years with a seal coating to restores the moisture and waterproof barrier onto your asphalt's surface.
Use these tips to install and keep and strong and long-lasting asphalt driveway. For more information, visit websites like http://www.harrispavingindustries.com.