When it comes to the right way to install asphalt, it feels like everyone has an opinion on what to do. Murphree Paving has been paving the mid-south United States since 1970 – so it’s safe to say we’ve learned a few things in the process.
Installing or replacing asphalt yourself is definitely not a task for a beginner DIY enthusiast. It’s a lot of work and you’ll need access to a significant equipment.
So, to help you lay a perfect pavement or make your new asphalt driveway that looks great for years to come, we’ve created this easy to follow guide on the best way to pave an asphalt driveway.
Step 1: Demolish any old pavement and clear debris
The first thing you want to take care of when installing new asphalt is to remove the old, damaged surface. Whether it’s asphalt or concrete, start stripping it all away so you can start with a fresh canvas.
You’ll probably need heavy machinery (think bobcats and forklifts) to help you remove the old paving. Don’t worry if you don’t have this kind of machinery – most equipment rental companies can help out here.
Remove all the debris and make sure your surface is completely clean and clear before continuing.
Step 2: Grade the slope to ensure correct drainage
Now that you have a clean slate, it’s time to prepare the surface so it has appropriate water drainage.
Effective drainage will help prevent your pavement from collapsing prematurely. The surface needs to be graded to let any water run off to the sides and puddle.
Proper drainage is necessary for any asphalt pavement as without it, major damage can occur including cracks, crumbling and potholes.
If you’re not sure how to grade the slope yourself, call in an asphalt paving contractor to help.
Step 3: Prepare your sub-base
The sub-base gives your pavement a stable foundation and is the main support – so it’s pretty important!
In winter the sub-base acts as a frost barrier that reduces damage from repeated freezing and thawing.
When you’re installing your sub-base, it needs to be compacted correctly – if not the surface of your asphalt will suffer. It most likely won’t last through many seasons and you’ll see cracking and weathering a lot quicker than usual.
Step 4: The proof is in the roll!
As soon as the sub-base is fully graded and compacted it’s time to proof roll. Proof rolling ensures that the underlying matrix is strong enough to support the asphalt and the loads on it.
If the base flexes an inch or more under the weight of the roller, then it likely won’t be properly support the pavement.
You can use undercutting to repair any soft spots in the base. Undercutting involves digging about 2 or 3 feet below the surface and replacing the soil with a stronger material. This will provide your base with the extra support it needs.
Step 5: Add your binder layer
Once you have the sub-base laid down and the soft areas of the base repaired, it’s time to add your binder layer.
The binder layer is made up of a mixture of aggregate and oil which will help support your asphalt and create a stronger, more durable pavement.
Step 6: Install the new asphalt
After all that, it’s finally time to for you to install asphalt!
As soon as you have all your driveway’s support structures in place you can begin applying the top layer of fresh surface asphalt.
Surface asphalt is made up of sand, oil, and small aggregate. The combination of these three materials creates that jet-black asphalt look and when installed correctly it provides a smooth, shiny and attractive finish.
Once it’s down, take a step back and enjoy the view.
Step 7: Connect old surfaces to new ones
The final step is the finishing touches.
Chances are that your new asphalt connects to driveways, roadways, and even parking lots. Because of this, you’ll need to create a smooth transition between the two structures.
Butt joints is the official name of the areas where old asphalt meets new asphalt.
More than aesthetically pleasing, butt joints need to also be graded correctly – this will make sure water will run-off at every butt joint and you don’t end up with damaged patches.
Keeping butt joints smooth and comfortable to use is also important for drivers and pedestrians. If the butt joints are smooth they won’t notice a difference between the old and the new asphalt when driving or walking over it.
With those 7 steps completed, you should have a smooth, good-looking driveway!
Bonus Step: Sealcoat … but NOT YET!
Sealcoating (or asphalt sealing) is very important for extending the useful life of your driveway. However, it is important to allow the asphalt to fully cure before applying any asphalt sealing product. This means waiting at least 3 months and maybe up to a year before sealcoating.
Sound like a lot of hard work? Get the professionals in to do it for you.
At Murphree Paving, we provide high-quality asphalt paving, asphalt repair, and asphalt maintenance to residential, commercial municipal, and industrial clients. If you’re in need of some help paving your new asphalt driveway then get in touch today.
Call (662) 844-2331 during business hours to get a guaranteed same-day response.
Get in touch with us today for a free quote.