The Residential Asphalt Paving Process in 5 Steps

Are you considering a new or replacement asphalt lot? Whether it’s a parking lot, a driveway, a walkway, or some other space, asphalt provides a safe and secure base for many residential activities. But what can you expect the actual paving process to look like? Here are a few of the key steps. 

1. Planning the Project

Planning is an often overlooked step that sets up your project for success. But you shouldn’t rush this step if you want something that lasts. 

Planning looks different for each paving project as their needs vary. You’ll likely need to get approval from city or county planning offices. A project involving an overlay must be assessed to determine if the old material will stand up to the overlay. Or a lot that currently experiences drainage issues may need work both before and during paving to resolve these issues. 

2. Excavation and Preparation

Depending on what was underneath the intended spot, your ground may need some excavation or site prep. Often, an old surface – concrete or decaying asphalt – must be removed completely. If working on a piece of virgin land, you’ll need to completely clear it so that no uneven elements affect the asphalt’s flat surface. And the ground underneath may need to be compacted and made stable. 

One key part of laying a lot that will last for years is to have the right grading and drainage. Rainwater that pools and puddles either on top of or underneath the asphalt causes road hazards and accelerates cracking and crumbling that will eventually ruin the asphalt. 

3. Laying a Sub Base

The sub base upon which the asphalt is actually poured must provide a solid, stable foundation in the face of erosion, usage, and weather. A sufficient sub base for a residential lot may simply be properly cleared soil with aggregate stone on top. This prevents further settling and shifting. In the case of an overlay, of course, the sub base is the old asphalt driveway underneath – which must be able to support the new.

Your paver may also do an additional test called a ‘proof roll’ to see how well the sub base is working. Then a layer of binding material will be placed on top in order to ‘glue’ the layers together well. 

4. Pouring the Asphalt

Asphalt is an aggregate made of sand and stone that is mixed with the tar-like substance we know as asphalt. It is heated to a high temperature to keep the mixture pliable so it can be laid out, graded, and leveled before it cools and hardens. The process can be dangerous, so it should only be undertaken by professionals. 

The actual laying of the asphalt may be one of the fastest parts of the whole process. It could take as little as an hour for a small project. The contractor will use heavy equipment to lay down the hot mix and provide the leveling and compacting it needs to create a finished look. 

5. Final Hardening

The final stage of installation is to wait while the lot or driveway fully hardens. Initially, you should be able to walk or even drive on the surface – carefully – in as little as a few days. But thorough hardening will often take 30 days or more, during which you would need to be cautious about any use and avoid scuffs. 

As you understand what goes into your new or overlaid asphalt project, you can better plan ahead. Want to know more about your particular space? Contact J R Paving Co today to meet with a paving pro and learn how these steps will apply to your case.