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When you contact local asphalt paving companies, it is with good reason. Asphalt is known for its different benefits that include its durability and resiliency. A well maintained asphalt project will last more than 20 years, if installed correctly. Those are some of the reasons why a lot of homeowners choose asphalt over cement. You can even be as lucky as not to need to replace it until 25 years after it has been laid. It is not just being used for driveways, but also a lot of other functions including roadways, parking lots, airstrips just to mention a few.
When you start paying attention to what is actually underneath your feet, you will realize how it is one of the most common materials you will find yourself walking on during your every day activities. The good thing about asphalt is also that it can be recycled once it’s removed, which makes it a more green option. This material can definitely be a great solution for your driveway, and once you’re ready to talk to local asphalt paving contractors, use the form at the top of this page to get quotes from competing contractors.
What is Asphalt Made From?
There are different materials that go into the final asphalt material that has so many purposes. The materials include, aggregate stone, sand, liquid asphalt as well as additives. The liquid asphalt is a black and sticky semi-solid petroleum substance. If you have ever heard the word bitumen before, that is a different name that is often used for asphalt.
You probably didn’t know that the material that is used for paving is in fact mostly aggregates, with the additives and liquid asphalt binding everything together. Of the material that is used for paving, sand and aggregates make up 90% of the final material, leaving very little left for the binding materials.
When asphalt is maintained properly, it has a great ability to repel water, which could otherwise have devastating effects on the durability of your asphalt. When water seeps into small holes and cracks, and it freezes, it can have devastating effects on the things it does it to, as water then expands, which will further expand the cracks. It also means that cracks in an asphalt should be repaired as soon as they’re discovered, and especially before you’re expecting a lot of cold weather.
How Asphalt is Created
Pre-dosing is the first step of making asphalt, which means you have a specific recipe that dictates the mixtures of the different components that go into the final product. Each of the different materials is weighed to get the accurate amount.
The next step in the process is to make sure the aggregate components are ready to be used, which involves extensive drying of the aggregates in a drum that gets up to 300 degrees warm to make sure the mixture contains no moisture. If water or moisture is left in the mix, and it freezes you can imagine that your project is off to a bad start even before the pavement is laid. To make sure the different ratios are still correct, the now dried aggregates need to be weighed again to ensure the ratio is still correct after potential water has evaporated.
The dried aggregates are now ready to be added to the mixer, where they will later be mixed with the liquid asphalt. When the contractor is ready to do the paving, the binding component is added to the aggregates in the mixer according to the recipe to ensure that everything is mixed well together, and a final consistent product is created.
All of this happens at a specific plant, where the mixture can be kept warm until it is needed at the construction site. If not kept warm, it will quickly start to harden and cannot be used for its intended purpose
Asphalt versus concrete
Both concrete and asphalt are common for home improvement projects, but which is the right type for you to choose? We always advice you to consult with asphalt paving companies near you to hear what their recommendations are, but here is a more general comparison of the two different types of material.
Where concrete is usually lighter in color, the usual color for asphalt is black. Asphalt does not lend it self well to changing its color, while the color of concrete can reasonably be changed with different finishes. If you appreciate the look of seemingly have the road go all the way to your front door, asphalt can be a great choice for a driveway.
Another big reason why people choose asphalt over concrete is because it is significantly cheaper to have installed too and since it will last more than 20 years assuming it’s being well maintained, can serve your house well for a long period of time.
Since asphalt has the tendency to get softer when it gets very warm, thereby allowing it to change slightly, some contractors recommend going with concrete in warmer climates.
Although asphalt will need resealing, this is a job that can be done by anyone, and should not be the reason you choose not to go with this option.
Before you decide on what to install, make sure there are no local regulations that require you to do a certain thing, or a homeowner’s organization that dictates what you’re allowed to install in your driveway.
Preparing for asphalt paving
Asphalt paving is not as simple as just dumping the mix that we previously talked about and then making sure it’s nice and flat. There is a great deal of preparation that will need to be done before the paving takes place. While you can lay an additional layer of asphalt on top of an existing one, the bigger challenge is when there is no such thing underneath and you need to ensure good ground preparation prior to starting paving. How well the ground has been prepared has a big impact on the life of the paving you’re putting down. Bad preparation will simply lead to bigger problems and earlier.
The right asphalt paving contractors know how to go about the steps of first removing things that may be in the way and excavating of the area. When that has been done, they will ensure that the ground is sufficiently compact to avoid things shifting around underneath it, and the base materials for the paving will then be laid. What is used as the base material can vary but will often consist of stone aggregate.
Although you can lay an additional layer of asphalt on top of an existing one, there is generally a step that contractors will take before doing so, which is to add a layer of hot tack on top, which simply lets the additional layer of asphalt bond better with the surface it is laid on.
Have you ever seen those big machines with a big round wheel in front, and one in the back? They’re called asphalt rollers, and their job is to make sure that the asphalt as compacted properly.
Getting Free Estimates & Quotes the Easy Way!
If you have chosen to go forward with your asphalt project, we invite you to use our contact form at the top of this page which will allow you to get quotes from up to 4 different contractors in your area, which you’ll then be able to interview and find out which one to proceed with. The service is free for you to use, and you have no obligation to choose any of them