Residential driveway repaving can make a world of difference for any homeowner. With the right driveway paving preparation, you can reap the benefits for years to come.
What Is Residential Driveway Paving?
Residential driveway repaving involves the construction and design of an asphalt driveway. It often serves as a simple, economical choice for homeowners who are looking for a quick, easy way to enhance their properties.
Some of the benefits associated with residential driveway paving include:
- Increased Home Value: In many instances, a high-quality residential driveway can boost your home’s value. If you intend to sell your house in the near future, superb residential driveway paving may help you differentiate your home from other residences in a competitive real estate market.
- Long-Lasting Quality: A residential asphalt driveway will maintain its quality and appearance for an extended period of time. In fact, an asphalt driveway usually will last between 12 and 35 years.
- Instant Results: It won’t take long for you to start enjoying the benefits of a residential asphalt driveway. An asphalt driveway commonly can be laid over the course of one to two days. Comparatively, it may take twice as much time to lay a concrete driveway than an asphalt driveway.
- Affordability: The cost associated with driveway paving may vary based on region and also with your requirements. For instance, you might pay as little as $250 to cover the costs of the base for a driveway. However, if you need a wide, long driveway, the costs may add up to $1,000 or more. In most cases, though, if you need the bare essentials, you probably won’t have to worry about breaking your budget to benefit from residential driveway paving.
As you consider your residential driveway paving options, it is important to establish realistic residential driveway paving project goals. By doing so, you can find a residential driveway paving contractor that can help you achieve these goals quickly and effectively.
Your Driveway’s Foundation: What You Need to Know
When it comes to building a new driveway, the foundation is paramount. If the foundation has not been constructed properly, you may encounter myriad problems when you embark on a residential driveway repaving project.
The foundation, or the sub-base below the asphalt, is a stable surface that supports the pavement above it. In addition, the foundation acts as a barrier against frost, reducing winter damage related to freezing and thawing. Thus, if the foundation was not laid correctly, problems may arise if you decide to get your residential driveway repaved.
For homeowners, a crucial first step is finding a contractor who will allocate the necessary time and resources to study the foundation of your driveway, including the soil conditions at your home. In some regions, well-drained, sandy soil can serve as a foundation without any modification needed. On the other hand, in areas where clay soils or poorly compacted soils are present, you may need a new foundation to get the best results from a residential driveway paving project.
Your driveway’s sub-base is a key consideration at all stages of a driveway paving project. The sub-base must be strong enough to support construction equipment on top of it — without exception. It ultimately serves as the foundation of your driveway. As such, a poorly designed or contaminated foundation will need to be removed or replaced before residential driveway repaving is finished.
In most instances, a contractor will perform a visual inspection of an area’s elevation and check the sub-grade soil to determine how much weight it can handle. Then, a contractor will account for these factors in pavement design.
Other Factors a Contractor Must Take Into Account
For contractors, it is important to safeguard or move all underground utilities prior to completing any grading tasks. Also, driveway paving should be completed far away from bushes, trees and other vegetation whenever possible. Root systems may lead to pavement damage over time, but a diligent contractor will plan ahead and avoid such dangers altogether.
Furthermore, topsoil must be removed before residential driveway paving. In areas were the soil is poor-quality, a contractor can improve the soil by incorporating asphalt or assorted admixtures like granular materials or lime.
Before you begin a driveway paving project, you’ll need to use a soil sterilizing agent to treat the entire space. With this agent, future flora and vegetation growth will be inhibited.
A contractor must be able to identify “soft spots” in soil as well. If a weakness is found, a contractor must remove this material or use crushed stone or compacted asphalt concrete in its place. For areas with subpar sub-grade, a contractor may need to eliminate the upper part of the sub-grade. Then, the contractor will substitute the upper portion with crushed stone or compacted asphalt concrete. After this is completed, the graded foundation should be studied closely. Ideally, the foundation’s grade and cross-section should not differ from the required grade and cross-section by more than 1/2″ in a 10′ area.
Residential Driveway Repaving Factors to Consider
In addition to the sub-grade, there are various factors to consider before a residential driveway repaving project is completed, including:
For the most part, driveways should conform to the area’s natural topography. Trees and rocks near a driveway should be preserved if at all possible. Moreover, a twisting or curved driveway may prove to be a more attractive choice for some homeowners. A bending driveway will require a contractor to account for increasing the width of the driveway due to sharp curves.
- The Width and Radii of the Pavement
A pavement’s width will play a key role in the success of a residential driveway paving project. The minimum width required for one traditional car is 8′. However, a contractor may choose a 10′ width to accommodate larger vehicles.
If you are accounting for both automobiles and pedestrians, it is always better to err on the side of caution. In this scenario, a contractor may recommend a 12′ width for a residential driveway paving project. Or, if you require a two-car driveway, a minimum of 20’ for pavement width will ensure all car doors open without obstruction.
Meanwhile, the ideal location for where the driveway meets the street ranges from 6′ to 8′.
- The Thickness of the Pavement
The suggested minimum pavement thickness grades are provided for assorted sub-grade conditions using composite pavements (asphalt over an aggregate base) and full-depth (all-asphalt). These values refer to minimum compacted thickness.
In some situations, the pavement thickness may need to be increased to accommodate various residential driveway paving requirements. And, in these cases, a contractor should account for the thickness requirements of the pavement and include them in a residential driveway paving project proposal.
- The Drainage That Is in Place
With effective drainage in place, your residential driveway will maintain its strength and durability both now and in the future.
Typically, the driveway’s surface should correspond to the existing ground’s shape, i.e. a contour in which water will run away from or over the driveway surface on its own.
If your driveway is in a flat area, its minimum slope should be two percent or crown no less than 1/4″ per foot. Also, drainage that is located near patios, roofs or walkways should be piped as far away from the driveway as possible. Perhaps most important, water should never be able to stay at or on pavement and/or pavement edges.
You probably won’t need an under drain system for full-depth asphalt pavement. The only time you may need this system is when a driveway’s pavement is built directly on top of an aggregate base that has not been treated.
- How the Driveway’s Foundation Has Been Constructed
If you’re working on an asphalt driveway, it is essential to ensure the foundation is graded to established requirements. You must ensure the sub-grade is compacted sufficiently and any problem areas are fixed prior to the start of a residential driveway paving project.
Pour the asphalt concrete course directly into the sub-grade. You can use one or a few lifts to do this. Ensure the course is spread thoroughly and compressed based on the required pavement thickness.
If you’re working on an aggregate driveway, look at the foundation’s grade and contours for proper grading. Review any drainage problems – along with any problems with the driveway’s surface – before you launch a driveway paving project.
- Whether a Tack Coat Is Needed
A tack coat may be needed before placing subsequent pavement layers. This coat consists of thinned emulsified asphalt and should be used after a prior course was cleaned. Also, the tack coat can be removed if an earlier course is placed and cleaned thoroughly.
- How the Asphalt Surface Course Is Applied
Use one or more lifts to apply the asphalt surface course. Apply this course to the proper grade and line that are defined in a driveway repaving project contract. Any deficiencies in the course of the pavement surface should be identified and resolved immediately. Also, you should roll and compact the course when it can be done without the risk of any movement or damage. This should continue until the material is completely compacted, and roller marks can no longer be seen. If compaction is performed incorrectly.
- How the Driveway Is Sealed
For a new asphalt concrete driveway, sealing the driveway surface isn’t necessary. If the driveway pavement is constructed properly, the driveway itself should continue to look and perform great for many years.
Using even a tiny amount of sealer that contains mineral grit may help improve a driveway’s surface. This sealer usually can be purchased at a hardware store and helps fix minor cracking and upgrade a driveway’s appearance over a prolonged period of time. If driveway pavement is improperly compacted, you may need to use a surface sealer several years after a residential driveway paving project’s completion.
- Paving Over an Aggregate Driveway
For an existing aggregate driveway, a soil sterilizing agent must be used before a repaving project commences. Be sure to find one that is non-toxic. This treatment should be performed prior to residential driveway paving for optimal results.
Existing stone depth also must be determined prior to a residential driveway repaving project. Additional stone may be necessary if the aggregate depth falls below the optimal minimum driveway thickness.
- Resurfacing an Asphalt Driveway
If you decide to fix and/or redo an existing asphalt driveway, you should be able to correct oxidation, construction errors and other problems.
Use patching to repair any problem areas before you embark on a residential driveway repaving project. Or, if there are areas where gas has spilled on to the driveway, remove and patch the softened asphalt as needed.
You should use full-depth asphalt concrete to build a structural patch. This will deliver an ideal amount of strength and versatility. It is important to consider a driveway’s condition, when the driveway was built and how the driveway previously was used prior to resurfacing an asphalt driveway.
With an experienced residential driveway paving contractor at your disposal, you can receive extensive support with pavement repairs. Plus, this contractor will be able to provide overlay thickness assistance and ensure the overlay is at least 1″ thick.
As a homeowner, you may choose to keep your car in your driveway every day and your vehicle won’t damage your pavement. However, a heavy-duty truck like a concrete ready-mix truck or a construction delivery truck that uses the driveway may increase the risk of driveway damage over time.
Heavy-duty trucks should not park in a repaved residential driveway for at least a year after a residential driveway repaving project is finished. It’s not until after this point that the soil and will be either frozen or dry, and the driveway will be fully cured, reducing the risk of pavement damage.
- Pavement Materials and Building
Pavement materials and the structure you use may differ from those selected by another homeowner. In all likelihood, the pavement materials and structure will vary depending on the project. With projects where full-depth asphalt is required, an aggregate base may prove to be the best choice to place over asphalt layers.
In areas where silt- and clay-like soils are found, a medium or frail foundation likely is present. Or, in areas where sandy and rocky soils are discovered, a medium to strong sub-grade may be present.
- The Maintenance of Your Driveway
The formation of aggregate base layers or soil can lead to pavement failures over an extended period of time. When this happens, potholes may appear.
To fix potholes, remove the affected area. The pavement materials must be removed as well. If necessary, cut out any sub-grade material and replace it. Lastly, apply patching material or new asphalt concrete to complete the necessary repairs.
In addition, residential driveway shrinkage cracks may start to develop as asphalt ages. You can use an asphalt-based material for fixing these cracks, as this material will prevent water from accessing various pavement layers.
In areas where there are a lot of cracks, the pavement will need to be covered with new asphalt concrete surface. Or, the pavement can be substituted with a fresh asphalt concrete surface. In many instances, you won’t have to worry about curbs and gutters when you overlay a driveway. Typically, you only would need milling or asphalt removal if you need to find a way to keep surface draining intact for driveways that are located near curbs and gutters.
- How to Surface Aggregate or Gravel Driveways
With gravel or aggregate driveways, the foundation and gravel layers are already compacted. This means no settlement of materials should occur.
For a homeowner who intends to use asphalt concrete to surface an existing driveway, they should confirm the foundation or gravel layer has a thickness of 4″ or less and is properly graded to minimize uneven spots. Also, a sterilization agent should be used on the soil, and existing vegetation should be eliminated before surfacing is performed.
Clearly, there is a lot to consider prior to a residential driveway repaving project. If you collaborate with an expert residential driveway paving contractor, you should have no trouble improving the quality and appearance of your driveway.
How to Choose the Right Residential Driveway Paving Contractor
There is no shortage of first-rate residential driveway paving contractors available in cities and towns around the country. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to find a contractor that can help you achieve your residential driveway paving goals.
There are many factors to consider as you search for the perfect residential driveway paving contractor, including:
- Experience: How long has a contractor been in business? Learn about a residential driveway paving contractor’s industry experience. You also can ask a contractor for customer referrals to find out how this business has helped past clients.
- Expertise: Take some time to learn about a contractor’s expertise. Find out how many employees a contractor has on staff and what training has been provided to these workers. That way, you can learn about a contractor’s expertise and determine whether this business is the best choice based on your residential paving project.
- Price: If you’re operating on a budget, it is important to do everything you can to stay within your financial parameters. Find out how much a contractor will charge for a residential driveway paving in advance. In most instances, a contractor should be able to provide an estimated project cost. It’s also ideal to get quotes from multiple contractors before making your final choice.
- Customer Support: After your residential driveway paving project is finished, will a contractor still address any long-term concerns and questions? Learn how a contractor supports its customers. This will enable you to find out whether a contractor does the bare minimum for customer support, or if a contractor prioritizes customer satisfaction at all times.
- Warranty: Does a contractor offer a guarantee? Ask a contractor about warranties and how this business backs up its residential driveway paving projects.
- Visit past job sites. Take an up-close look at how a contractor has performed residential driveway repaving in the past. This will give you a better idea about how your driveway may look at your residential driveway paving project’s completion.
- Insist on a written agreement. With a written agreement in place, you’ll know exactly what to expect during a residential driveway repaving project.
Allocate the necessary time and resources to review a broad array of residential driveway paving contractors. An informed approach ensures you can make a great decision — one that will result in a safe, reliable residential driveway.
Select Colonial Excavating for Residential Driveway Paving
Ready to get your residential driveway paved? Choose Colonial Excavating, and you’ll receive comprehensive support at every stage of a residential driveway paving project.
Colonial Excavating is a premier excavating and landscaping company. We take pride in offering reliable, professional and affordable excavating and landscaping services for both residential and commercial customers. We’re a one-stop shop for landscaping, hardscaping and excavating, and we offer 24/7 emergency services as well.
At Colonial Excavating, our top priority is working hand-in-hand with clients to ensure customer satisfaction. We understand some jobs may prove to be more difficult than others. But with our integrity, passion and teamwork, we’ll go the extra mile to ensure you can enjoy a top-notch residential driveway.