If your old driveway is in a state of disrepair and it's time to blow it up and start over, one material you may want to look at is asphalt. An asphalt driveway is less expensive than other common driveway materials, and can hold up well in the hot summer sun or during a winter freeze.
If you've never laid down an asphalt driveway before, it might be best to hire a paving contractor to do the project for you. But if you insist on going it alone, here are 3 tips that you should keep in mind when putting down an asphalt driveway:
Get Your Shovel
When you tear out your old driveway, don't start putting down the new driveway immediately. Take a good look at the soil underneath. If you have a weak type of soil, such as clay, this could cause the asphalt to deform easily while you are putting the layers down. You also want to make sure that any roots and other annoyances are dug up. All top soil should be removed before beginning the project.
The Most Important Part of the Driveway is Not the Asphalt
When paving an asphalt driveway, the first thing you need to do is put down a gravel base. This base is critical to having a well designed and well functioning driveway. A base that is too thin or too thick will potentially create problems down the road.
Even if you are not hiring a paving contractor for the job itself, you may want to at least bring one as a consultant to make sure that you are putting down an amount of gravel that will work for your driveway.
Get the Slope Right to Avoid Drainage Problems
When you are finished, you want the final driveway to have a slop of at least a quarter of a foot and for this slope to be even all the way down the driveway. If you don't do this, you risk having water fail to drain properly or for a pool of water to form in an unwanted spot.
If your driveway is going to be flat, simply install a crown in the middle of the driveway so that it is slightly higher than the sides, which will cause water to run off that way.
When putting down your first asphalt driveway, start by making sure the ground underneath is free of top soil and strong enough to handle the layers of asphalt. Start with a good gravel base and don't forget to put a slope throughout the pavement in order to encourage water run off. If despite your best research this all seems over your head, there's no shame in hiring a professional paving contractor for help.