If you're putting in a long driveway, you should consider choosing asphalt for the material. Asphalt is an ideal material for roads and parking lots, so it's suitable for both short and long driveways. Here are some things you may want to know about asphalt and asphalt paving.
Asphalt Is Made Of An Aggregate And A Binder
Asphalt paving involves putting down a layer of asphalt on the base made for your driveway. The asphalt material is made from aggregates such as gravel, crushed rocks, or sand that are held together with a binder such as bitumen. The mix can be cold, warm, or hot. It comes out as a thick mix that's spread on your driveway, and it hardens as it cures.
As your asphalt driveway ages and is exposed to the sun, the aggregate and bitumen break apart. This is how cracks and potholes form. Plus, the binder deteriorates with age, and this allows the aggregate to show through and make the asphalt look faded. You can slow down the aging process and cover up fading by having a sealcoat put on your new driveway every few years.
Asphalt Paving Starts With The Base
An important part of putting in a new driveway is building the base from compacted soil and gravel. If you already have a driveway and the old one is being torn out, the paving contractor might keep the old base. If the old base is washed out or has other problems, the contractor may start over and build a new base to correct drainage problems.
A vital step in the process is to grade the soil so water always runs towards the sides and away from the middle of the driveway. This eliminates ponding water that causes the driveway to deteriorate more rapidly.
Asphalt Maintenance Makes The Driveway Last Longer
Once your new asphalt driveway is installed, talk to the paving contractor about what you need to do to keep the asphalt in good shape besides adding a sealcoat every few years. It's important to keep cracks sealed and holes repaired or rain will get in the cracks and cause damage to the asphalt and the base under it.
If you have a long driveway, it may be difficult to keep up with repairs yourself, so you might need the asphalt paving contractor to check and repair your driveway after a few years or on the schedule recommended by the contractor. If you get a sealcoat every two to three years, that's a good time to check for cracks and other damage so you stay on top of repairs.