Asphalt Driveway also called hop-top driveway, or blacktop driveway can be a smart choice for your home. This type of driveway is suitable for any residential building whether it is an existing house or a new construction.
It is a smart choice because asphalt driveway is in fact, the least expensive type of paved surface without compromising the quality of the surface. More than that, a good hot top driveway can have a lifespan of about 30 years.
The benefits of an asphalt driveway are numerous and may include a better access to your home, a better parking and last but not least, a better curb appeal, which invariably leads to an increase in your property value.
Paving an asphalt driveway is a quite simple and easy job if it is carefully planned. You should be well informed about what is required to complete this job.
The asphalt surface is elastic and hard in the same time. Asphalt composition is an aggregate and liquid asphalt cement mixture.
a) The aggregates consist in stones and sand that give a gray color to your driveway with small black spots between stones and sand particles, which is the liquid asphalt cement.
b) Liquid asphalt cement is a petroleum product type that gives the black color between aggregates.
ADVANTAGES: As I mentioned above the surface of an asphalt driveway is elastic (flexible) and hard like a concrete surface in the same time, whether your driveway is new or old. This black surface absorbs heat in the cold season, which helps to melt the ice and snow from the driveway surface.
In addition, because of its elasticity an asphalt driveway is durable and resistant to cracks and crevices.
DISADVANTAGES: Asphalt driveways are not recommended in colder areas where the ground may freeze deep inside. However, in the last time many construction firms and paving companies have developed methods and technologies to achieve cold resistant asphalt driveways. In fact, the principle is quite simple. As the climate is colder, the faster the mixture of aggregates and liquid asphalt cement should be poured. However, a less working time may lead to many execution errors. Therefore, it is not recommended to pour your asphalt driveway during the winter. The best time is spring or summer.
Pouring and Installing an Asphalt Driveway
The most important factor that you must consider when you pour an asphalt driveway is the thickness of the asphalt driveway substrate, ie thickness of gravel base. This is mandatory if you want to have a good driveway for your house. The gravel base layer thickness must be at least 2 – 3 inches and no more than 8 inches. This is the most important factor, because otherwise a too thin gravel layer can lead to a poor quality driveway prone to cracks, crevices and potholes. So, a good base beneath the driveway asphalt surface is the guarantee of a long lasting driveway, which will support even the heaviest traffic.
The best material for the underlayment are large stones but crushed gravel is commonly the most preferred material because is less expensive than other materials. However, the large stones underlayment with a thick layer of asphalt is extremely strong.
It is a smart idea to use a kind of textile fabrics, such as geo-textile that can be used over the soil before the gravel layer to be placed. This will prevent the water from the soil to penetrate in the underlayment.
To have a good driveway it is recommended that the gravel base to be one foot wider than your finished asphalt driveway. The asphalt surface needs at least three months to cure and it is no need to seal it. However, you should seal it over 9 months and then every 3 to 4 years.
Asphalt is perhaps the best option for your home if you’re searching for a functional, long lasting surface. It’s much cheaper than other surface, resists cracking and frost and it is actually less vulnerable to destruction from ice melt and salts in cold areas, not to mention it dries quite quickly so you will use earlier your driveway.
However, an asphalt driveway requires a routine maintenance such as a regular surface sealing.