What To Expect: the 11 Steps of Building an Asphalt Driveway

asphalt drivewaysIf you’re planning to hire experienced driveway contractors to replace or construct asphalt driveways, then you may be wondering what will actually happen when the contractors arrive. Over the past few decades, asphalt has quickly replaced concrete as the pavement of choice for driveways, parking lots, and even many roads. Fully 94% of the 2.6 million miles of paved roads in America are built with this hardy material, for an estimated total of 18 billion tons of asphalt.

Not only are asphalt driveways cheaper to pour and easier to maintain than concrete, but it’s almost 100% recyclable. In 2013, more than 67.8 million tons of asphalt was reclaimed, and nearly 100% of it was reused. Of course, most homeowners don’t really care about all that, they just want to know what to expect when you’re expecting driveway contractors. So let’s walk through the process. Of course, every job is unique, and different properties will require slight variations. But in general, this is what you can expect when driveway contractors are building asphalt driveways.

1. Jackhammering edges
If your existing driveway connects to a sidewalk, patio, or garage floor, the edges are carefully jackhammered to avoid damaging other surfaces. These sections of pavement are then removed by hand.

2. Demolition!
Once the borders have been removed, the remaining pavement is jackhammered. It’s typically the noisiest part of the process.

3. Pavement removed piece by piece
Once again, the slabs and pieces of demolished pavement are removed. Usually, the vast majority of this material can be reclaimed or recycled for future use.

4. New paver is poured and graded
Beneath the surface, asphalt and concrete contractors pour paver, a filler material used to bulk up and flatten out the pavement surface.

5. Roller flattens and compacts paver
Once this material is poured and distributed, a roller machine is used to flatten it out and compact it. This will help hold the pavement steady.

6. Hot asphalt mix poured on the paver
Finally, contractors pour hot asphalt mix on top of the paver, spreading it evenly across the compacted surface.

7. Paving machine creates 3-inch pavement
Although the thickness can vary, three inches is fairly standard for driveways. A paving machine turns the hot asphalt mix into a flat, even pavement surface.

8. Poured asphalt is raked and the edges are compacted
Driveway contractors will flatten and compact the pavement material by hand, using metal rakes and compactors.

9. Pavement is compacted to match other surfaces
The driveway contractors will take care to make sure the pavement connects seamlessly to other surfaces, like garage floors, sidewalks, and the street.

10. The roller machine returns
The roller machine returns and drives over the pavement repeatedly, creating a totally flat and compacted surface for cars to drive on for decades to come.

11. Clean up
Finally, there’s one last step before your driveway is complete. The best contractors always remember to clean up after a job well done. Sweepers, vacuums, and good old fashioned elbow grease is used to pick up any debris or pavement left behind.