When you need an affordable, attractive, and long-lasting driveway, asphalt checks all the boxes while improving your home’s curb appeal. An asphalt driveway can last for 20-30 years if it’s well maintained with sealcoating every three years.
You likely have many questions if it’s time to replace an existing driveway or install a new one. The following guide will help you better understand the asphalt driveway installation process and what to expect from start to finish.
Any driveway paving project begins by removing the old driveway. Whether you currently have a concrete or asphalt driveway, the contractors will come in with heavy equipment, including small Bobcats and dump trucks. They will break up the existing driveway and haul away the debris to prepare a clean slate for new materials.
After demolishing the old driveway, the contractors begin preparing the sub-base. This is the most critical part of the installation. It creates the best possible surface for the new driveway materials and ensures the structural integrity and durability of the fresh pavement.
The first step is correcting drainage problems by grading and sloping the base. Without proper drainage, the driveway is vulnerable to water damage, which can appear as defects in the driveway surface. Water can cause cracks, potholes, and heaving, reducing the asphalt’s lifespan.
Asphalt paving companies also prepare the sub-base to support the new driveway and create a frost barrier to prevent damage caused by freeze-and-thaw cycles. The process adds soil to achieve the right thickness, compacts it to ensure stability, and adds a layer of aggregate stone. The aggregate replaces some of the asphalt and helps with drainage and structural strength.
The final sub-base compaction phase of asphalt driveway installation involves inspecting the aggregate and underlying soil for soft spots that can weaken the surface. This process usually involves driving over the stone with heavy equipment and watching for areas where it flexes under the weight. The crew repairs spots where the rock moves excessively (one inch or more) before moving on to the next step.
When the support structure of the driveway is complete, the crew applies the fresh asphalt. The surface material is a mix of aggregate, oil, and sand. Once in place, a roller compacts the new asphalt into a smooth, blemish-free surface.
Installing the average residential driveway takes at least two days: one day to prepare the sub-base and one day to install and compact the asphalt.
This timeline assumes no significant issues with the soil or drainage that need more repairs. It does not include time for the asphalt to cure. In most cases, you can drive on the new asphalt in two to three days. During that time, it’s best to avoid heavy loads (like parking large trucks) on the new driveway to prevent damage.
An asphalt driveway over an aggregate base is about two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half inches thick. You may need a thicker asphalt layer if you plan to park heavy vehicles like RVs in the driveway. In that case, an extra inch or two of asphalt is necessary to support the weight.
An asphalt driveway will last for up to 30 years with proper maintenance, including sealing cracks and sealcoating every three years. If you leave your driveway as is, plan to invest in a new one in about 15 years.
Many factors influence driveway costs, and there is no rule of thumb for estimating how much you will spend. The best way to know for sure is to contact EARTHTEK for a free, no-obligation estimate that accounts for all the individual factors. The size and condition of the sub-base are the most significant contributors to driveway costs. An existing concrete driveway, and other considerations also influence the final estimate for your project.
When you want a reliable asphalt contractor in San Jose, call EARTHTEK Paving at 480-478-9402. This local family-owned company can handle any job—nothing is too big or small for our experienced, fully licensed, and insured crew. We offer free estimates and make sure every job is done right, on time, and on budget. Call us today to get started on your new asphalt driveway.