Tips for homeowners

1. Choosing between asphalt and concrete

Asphalt and concrete pavement are both durable surfaces and look great. If you are deciding between an asphalt or concrete surface for your home here are some points to consider.

Asphalt: Asphalt is typically used for driveways, walkways and play surfaces. If well maintained, an asphalt surface could last up to 25 years. Asphalt surfaces have a smooth finish without joints and the black colour helps to conceal stains from leaky cars on the pavement. Asphalt surfaces can be installed quickly and cost less than concrete surfaces.

Concrete: Concrete is typically used for driveways, walkways and patios. Concrete can be custom shaped and formed, giving you more creative options for visual appeal. Concrete can also be coloured and textured to create a very custom look for your home. While concrete is more expensive and takes longer to install, it will last longer too.

2. Our approach to installing an asphalt driveway

Below is a summary of the typical steps to install a new asphalt driveway. While no two customers are exactly the same, this provides an idea of what to expect.

First, we layout our plans for the project. Second, we remove and dispose of the unwanted old materials such as grass, dirt, asphalt and concrete. Third we prepare the base, adding stone as needed. Fourth, we grade the driveway and compact the base. Fifth we install a consistent layer of asphalt that we compact with a smooth drum roller. Edges are hand tamped on an angle. Finally we clean up the work site and caution tape the paved area. We recommend you allow your driveway to set for three days to prevent scuffing.

3. It’s about a good base

When you are investing in an asphalt driveway, you want to make sure it’s done right. One of the most important elements in a great driveway lies below the surface with a well compacted base. A well compacted base is important because if the base is not compacted and sinks, so will the asphalt. If the asphalt cracks it will allow water in causing erosion. Water under the asphalt can also cause major damage with the freeze and thaw that happens in our cold winters. The base keeps your driveway smooth. Holes and cracks can form when the base has not been well compacted. A good foundation is the key to a great looking surface that will stand the test of time.

4. The right amount of asphalt

For a typical home driveway, we recommend covering the base with three inches of compacted asphalt. This is appropriate if you will be using your driveway for typical vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, pick-up trucks etc. As long as you have a well compacted base, three inches of compacted asphalt will cover and protect your base from nature’s elements, allowing the water to run off and keep the base dry. Three inches of asphalt is the right amount of asphalt for most residential driveways.

If your driveway will be often used for heaver vehicles such as one-ton trucks, heavy-duty vans, busses or RV’s it will require a thicker base and might require two layers of asphalt.

5. How long does it take?

A new asphalt driveway typically takes one day to prepare and one day to pave. We recommend that you do not park on your driveway for 3 days. Remember that the ability to pave depends on the weather so dates cannot be exact.

Sealing a driveway typically takes one day. We recommend that you do not park on your driveway for one day following.

6. Adding concrete to your driveway

There are a couple of ways that you can add concrete to your driveway, depending on your needs.

Concrete curbs: Concrete curbs are intended to keep vehicles from crossing the hard surface driveway onto landscaped areas. To do this, curbs are typically raised six inches above the driveway and installed deeper into the ground so they are more expensive than concrete borders. Concrete curbs look great and protect landscaped areas.

Concrete borders: Concrete borders provide a nice looking edge around your paved driveway. They are not raised and do not need to be installed deep into the ground, so they are less costly to install. Concrete borders are a great look for less.

7. Three ways to keep your new asphalt driveway looking great

You’ve invested in a new asphalt driveway. Follow these simple tips to keep you driveway looking great. First, be sure not to park on your new driveway for three days after the installation is complete. If the driveway is used it could scuff. Second, wait one full year before you seal your driveway. Asphalt needs time to gain strength before you seal. Finally, it’s important to maintain your driveway. Schedule regular maintenance and seal you driveway once a year.