Know-How To Prepare Your Driveway For Asphalting

There are many things you can do to prepare the drive for paving work, although most people do not have the tools or equipment to install an asphalt driveway.

To pave upon, the driveway without exception must have a solid base underneath. Soft or wet spots are the most common reason for the failure of the pavement itself.

The ground is unable to carry the weight of the vehicles driven over it is what cracking or alligatoring means. Severe wet spots will cause the pavement to fail and break up into large chunks and cause the entire driveway to fail.

Base Layout

There are available today’s ground stabilization fabric materials that can be laid under stone sub-base materials in wet areas to help solidify the sub-base itself. The material is fairly expensive but may allow the installation of a driveway where it would not be possible otherwise.

Once the sub-base material is properly compacted the ground will support a great deal more weight without and shifting or movement, if placed directly on the earth below the sub base and over the wet area. Many masonry supply stores carry these materials.

It will take two people to roll out and handle the fabric as it generally comes in twelve-foot wide rolls. A local excavating contractor for asphalting may have some smaller rolls to sell. Give them a try as well.

Installation Of Underdrains

Our first job is to assure there are no wet spots either by installing some underdrains, ditching along the edges to carry away surface water or replacing some of the wet earth with other suitable materials or stone.

DOT item 4 materials, crushed gravel or bank run sand and gravel perhaps as Sub-base materials could be small and large stones. The material needs to drain well and can be compacted with mechanical compactors.

Drainage piping could be twelve-inch corrugated piping which when installed will help water quickly pass under a drive or smaller four-inch perforated piping run under the driveway areas encased for water drainage without soaking the soils themselves or in stone to provide constant pathways.

Water will always take the path of least resistance so any drainage piping installed will help the ground to dry much more quickly than nature would allow by itself.

Sub-Base Layout

Once you have solved any current or potential water problems you can move on to the actual asphalt sub-base itself. Most homeowner driveways have a four-inch base of gravel shale or item 4 installed when the home was built.

Over the passing years, car tires break the shale down into very small pieces which will not provide a great sub-base material. Adding a new shale or stone can become a yearly maintenance project to maintain a smooth driving surface.

As the stone or shale is pressed into the earth you are creating a thicker and thicker sub base. Depending upon whether you want your new drive to finish up higher or perhaps level than the adjoining lawns or gardens is how much sub base you want to have in the end.

A typical residential driveway is ten feet wide with an actual driving surface area of about eight feet wide. For paving, you will need a solid ten-foot surface to get a nine-foot drive. Ten-foot drive, eleven-foot surface and so on. You need to have at least six inches of sub-base beyond the actual finished paved width on both sides.

The extra flat area is used to back up the asphalt and prevent the edges from crumbling. Remember also that asphalt and sub-base may be as much as six inches thick and will require extra topsoil to backup the edge of the sub-base and asphalt.

Addition Of Sub-Base Material

By adding sub-base material and keeping the surface as level as possible, you will already have the sub-base built for the paving man. In many areas of Australia, a material called bluestone screenings is available.

This material is finely crushed granite and comes in three colors. Blue which will turn a darker blue when wet as time passes? Red that will also turn a lighter blue over time and yellow which stays yellow-tinted forever.

Once graded, this material becomes as hard as concrete on a driveway. I have seen blue stone screening surfaces snow plowed winter after winter without any plowing damage.

A new dusting every few years maintains the crisp color and in-fills any depressions that may have developed. This makes a super sub-base for finished asphalt. Well ahead of the time to have the driveway paved you should also install several conduits under the driveway for future landscape lighting.

Depending upon the length of the drive, a crossing conduit every fifty feet or so should suffice. If an area is very rocky or wet, add additional conduits now before paving.

Adding them later will require cutting and patching the asphalt and will not only destroy the appearance of the driveway but will provide a potential area for surface water infiltration.

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