Laying a beautiful asphalt driveway that will last is not as easy as it looks. It takes experience, practice and dedication to produce a beautiful asphalt driveway you will enjoy for years to come. Whether you are looking to add a driveway from the ground up or replace your old one, it helps to understand what makes driveway installation a success. This will help you hire a good Maryland asphalt contractor, or maybe even save you from a scam artist!
Sub-grade or sub-base is the soil underneath your driveway. It’s typically composed of whatever minerals are common in your area. It’s best to have sub-grade composed of stable soil, but not everyone is that lucky. An experienced Maryland driveway contractor can determine the type and quality of your sub-grade and take measures to improve it.
Sub-grade needs to be free of tree roots, dead organic matter, and similar components that may eventually create cavities and cause your finished driveway to sink. To make sure your asphalt driveway is stable, at 1-855-Got-Paving we take the time to properly compact the sub-grade, so that it doesn’t cave under your vehicles and under our paving machines.
Base is the layer of material between the sub-grade and the asphalt pavement. Driveway base typically consists of crushed rock or recycled asphalt. Together with the sub-grade, it forms a foundation for your new driveway and allows for water to drain from underneath your driveway to prevent ice dams. Your driveway’s base has to have a certain thickness and should be spread evenly and compacted well.
It’s also a good idea to generously spray the sub-grade with a herbicide to make sure weeds and grasses don’t attempt to sprout through your driveway. Questionable paving contractors are notorious for laying asphalt so thin and so unprofessionally, that a driveway turns into a grass pasture in a few weeks. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced and reliable Maryland paving contractor you can trust.
Proper grading is very important for the overall longevity of your driveway. When puddles form on top of the driveway, it’s more than an inconvenience or an eyesore. Water that is left to sit on the asphalt surface can create many problems. In summer, it can cause your asphalt driveway to dry up faster and become brittle. In cold weather, water can soak between the asphalt granules and freeze as it expands, causing cracks and other forms of damage.
To avoid any such problems, it’s crucial to grade your future driveway so that it has a slight slope. This way the water naturally flows downhill instead of collecting on top of your driveway. In some situations when a driveway is flat and can’t be successfully graded due to the elevation, it may be necessary to install a crown. A crown creates a slightly raised bump in the middle of your driveway that helps the water to flow to the sides instead of collecting in the middle.
Proper sub-grade, base and grading equal a long-lasting and beautiful driveway. Now that you know the key components of your driveway, you might have clues as to why your current driveway may be failing. Feel free to give us a call or contact online for our professional opinion, and we’ll be happy to get it fixed for you!