The first road use of asphalt occurred in 1824 when asphalt blocks were placed on the Champs Elyse in Paris. Modern road asphalt was the work of Belgian immigrant Edward de Smedt at Columbia University in New York City. By 1872, he had engineered a modern, well-graded, maximum-density asphalt. The first use of this road asphalt was in Battery Park and on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1872 and on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. in 1877.
Asphalt paving, also known as Hot Mix Asphalt paving, consists of an aggregate of stone and sand mixed with liquid asphalt cement. The aggregate is carefully mixed and heated prior to being mixed with liquid asphalt. The mixture needs to be delivered to the job site hot.
There are two forms commonly used in construction: rolled asphalt and mastic asphalt. Rolled asphalt (usually hot rolled or HRA) is one of the forms of road surfacing material known collectively as blacktop. It is often used in shopping malls, parking lots and driveways.
Chip Seal is a consistent, uniformly sized layer of rock, spread on top of a binder course, then compacted to form a new wear surface. The chip seal protects the surface from aging and restores skid resistance. The color of the chip seal will be the color of the rock used.
Slurry Seal consists of a mixture of an approved emulsified asphalt, a mineral aggregate, water and specified additives that are proportioned, mixed and uniformly spread over a properly prepared surface, as directed by the buyer’s authorized representative. The completed slurry seal leaves a homogeneous mat, adhering firmly to the prepared surface with a friction-resistant texture throughout its service life. It will be black in color.
Sealer restores the original black color to old asphalt and gives protection from oxidation, moisture and chemicals and greatly enhances appearance.
How to Hire an Asphalt Paving Contractor
With any contractor you hire, make sure they are insured and bonded to protect you from any liability, as well as to protect you from any sub-par performance on the contractor’s behalf.
Lead times for paving a driveway can be up to several weeks, so plan appropriately when talking with your prospective paving contractors.
Asphalt paved driveways are extremely popular and the most cost-effective to install over most other driveway options. However, hiring the right asphalt-paving contractor can sometimes be a challenge. If the paving contractor installs the asphalt driveway correctly, the driveway should last 25-30 years with only minor maintenance.
In order to ensure a quality paved driveway, it is critical that the paving contractor first properly prepare the driveway for the Hot Mix Asphalt. Preparation includes removing topsoil or clay-type soil and replacing it with a sub-base layer of crushed stone and gravel.
Unlike concrete, an asphalt-paved driveway is both strong and flexible.
A typical asphalt-paving job consists of the application of two layers of Hot Mix Asphalt over the sub-base layer. In some cases, a paving contractor may suggest a full-depth asphalt application. This type of application is best if very heavy vehicles will be regularly parked on the driveway.
In order to obtain accurate quotes from the asphalt driveway-paving contractors, it is best to have a sketch of the home and the desired driveway footprint. You should also walk the site with the paving contractor and have him or you stake or paint lines where the paved driveway is to lay.
When talking to the prospective paving contractors, make sure the subject of installing proper slopes and drainage is discussed. Otherwise, you may wind up with water pooling on the finished driveway, or even worse, draining into your garage or home.
It is also critical that during the installation of all the various layers to the driveway, each layer gets compacted prior to the installation of the next layer of material. Quoted depths should be after compaction, not before.
Also, if there are any municipal pipes that need to be raised to the finished height of the driveway, find out if the paving contractors’ quotes included performing this task.
In addition, confirm that the contractor will remove and reinstall any type of gate or door to the new finished level of the paved driveway.
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