When you’re considering a new asphalt driveway for your property or repairs for existing surfaces, you probably have a few questions first. In this blog post, our asphalt specialists address some of the common questions we get asked here at CSI Paving, Inc.
Understanding Asphalt Services
The quality of the products used in any given asphalt service will contribute to the durability and longevity of the surface. Having a good handle on this before investing your hard-earned money is beneficial.
Read on for the answers you can use to make the most informed decisions about installing, repairing, maintaining, and replacing asphalt.
What is Asphalt Made Of?
Asphalt is a staple in modern paving. It’s more than just a black, sticky substance. At its core, asphalt is a mixture of aggregates—which include sand, gravel, and crushed rock—bound together by a binder, typically bitumen.
Bitumen is a byproduct of petroleum distillation. It acts as a glue, giving asphalt its resilient and adaptable characteristics. This composition can be tweaked depending on the specific use, weather conditions, and traffic levels it will endure.
In some mixes, recycled materials like rubber or glass are added to enhance the durability and sustainability of the asphalt.
Why Choose Asphalt Over Other Materials?
When considering paving options, asphalt often stands out for its unique blend of benefits.
- Durability: Asphalt is renowned for its resilience. It can withstand the heaviest traffic loads and is less prone to cracking under pressure or temperature fluctuations than its concrete counterparts. This flexibility makes it particularly suitable for areas with significant temperature swings.
- Cost-effectiveness: In the short and long term, asphalt is a budget-friendly choice. Its installation costs are generally lower compared to other paving materials. Additionally, its maintenance, though essential, is straightforward and cost-effective. Maintenance typically involves routine tasks like sealing cracks and resurfacing.
- Versatility: Asphalt’s adaptability is not just about withstanding weather and wear. It’s also about its ease of installation in various settings—from highways to driveways, parking lots to playgrounds. Asphalt can be laid quickly, reducing the inconvenience of long construction periods.
- Smoothness and noise reduction: Asphalt provides a smoother ride compared to other pavement materials. You can look forward to less wear and tear on vehicles and the potential for saving costs on vehicle repairs. This smoothness also contributes to noise reduction, a benefit particularly appreciated in urban or residential areas.
Professional Asphalt Installers Don’t Skip Any Steps in The Installation Process
You can expect a streamlined installation process when you entrust your project to a licensed asphalt installer. A certified professional will take the steps necessary to prep the area before the installation begins to ensure the ground is primed for creating a level, smooth, and uniform surface.
How Long Does It Take to Install Asphalt?
The duration of asphalt installation can vary based on several factors. Typically, a standard residential driveway can be paved in one to two days after the base preparation is complete. Larger projects like roads or parking lots understandably take longer.
Several factors influence the timeline:
- Size and complexity of the project
- Preparation work
- Weather conditions
- The contractor’s schedule and crew size
What Is the Best Time of Year to Lay Asphalt?
The ideal time for laying asphalt is during warmer weather, typically between late spring and early fall.
- Temperature: Asphalt needs to be laid and compacted while it is hot. Temperatures around 70°F are considered optimal, but there’s some leeway. In these conditions, the asphalt remains pliable for longer, allowing for proper leveling and compaction.
- Dry weather: Dry conditions are essential during installation. Rain can cool the asphalt too quickly, impacting its ability to compact properly. It can also affect the base, leading to future issues with the pavement.
- Longer daylight hours: Longer days in the summer provide more daylight for workers, which is beneficial for completing the project efficiently.
It’s important to note that while these are general guidelines, advancements in asphalt technology have broadened the range of conditions under which asphalt can be effectively laid. Some newer mixes allow for paving in cooler temperatures. However, adhering to these ideal conditions is recommended for the best results.
Asphalt Maintenance and Upkeep
Maintenance and upkeep are essential for keeping asphalt driveways, roads, parking areas, and pathways in optimal condition.
Below, you’ll find the answers to all your questions about the best maintenance practices for preserving your investment.
How Do You Maintain an Asphalt Surface?
Proper maintenance is key to extending the life of an asphalt surface.
Here are some essential tips:
- Regular Cleaning: Keep the surface clean from debris, dirt, and spills. Doing this not only maintains its appearance but also prevents damage.
- Sealcoating: Applying a sealcoat every two years can protect the asphalt from water, oils, and UV damage. Sealcoating also restores the surface’s black, like-new appearance.
- Make repairs promptly: Address cracks as soon as they appear. Small cracks can quickly become larger issues if water seeps in and compromises the base. Similar to cracks, potholes should be filled promptly to prevent them from enlarging or causing damage to vehicles.
- Drainage Maintenance: Ensure proper drainage around the asphalt surface to prevent water accumulation. Excess water can weaken the asphalt and the base layer.
- Avoid Heavy Loads: Regularly parking heavy vehicles or machinery in the same place can stress the asphalt. Try to vary parking spots or avoid parking heavy equipment on the surface for extended periods.
When Is it Time for Asphalt Repairs or Resurfacing?
Knowing when to repair or resurface an asphalt surface is crucial for its longevity.
Here are some signs that indicate it’s time for a professional intervention:
- Multiple cracks
- Fading color
- Drainage issues
- Surface is wearing thing
- The asphalt is over 20 years old
Choosing the Right Company
We’ve all heard stories about things that can go wrong when you hire the wrong asphalt contracting company. Use our tips below to steer clear of avoidable headaches.
How Do I Choose a Reliable Asphalt Contractor?
Selecting the right asphalt contractor is crucial for ensuring a high-quality, durable paving project.
Here are key criteria to consider:
- Licensing and insurance: Ensure the contractor is licensed to operate in your area and carries insurance. This is an important step in your protection from liability in case of accidents or damage during the project.
- Experience and reputation: Look for a contractor with significant experience in asphalt projects similar to yours. Check their reputation through online reviews, testimonials, and references from past clients.
- Detailed estimates: A reputable contractor should be able to provide a detailed and transparent estimate outlining the scope of the project, materials to be used, timeline, and costs.
- Equipment and crew: Inquire about the contractor’s equipment and the expertise of their crew. Quality contractors have modern, well-maintained equipment and a skilled, professional team.
- Materials used: Ask about the type of asphalt mix and materials they use. High-quality materials are crucial for the durability of the pavement.
- Communication and customer service: Choose a contractor who communicates clearly and promptly. Good communication is essential for understanding project timelines, expectations, and any potential issues that may arise.
Get in Touch With CSI Paving, Inc for More Information on Asphalt Services
Do you have additional questions about asphalt services or how to capture the most value from a partnership with a reputable paving company? CSI Paving, Inc is here to help. Give us a ring at (310) 612-1359 and let our team assist you.