If your home's driveway is looking a bit worn or rundown, it's probably just about time to install some new pavement. While asphalt driveways can be durable and long-lasting, day-to-day use will eventually cause them to wear down and fail. While you can resurface to deal with minor issues, structural problems typically require paving the entire driveway.
Of course, paving a driveway is a much more involved process than resurfacing, but it can also produce a surface that will last for much longer. However, getting the most bang-for-your-buck requires a substantial amount of prep work. Understanding the how and why of this process can help explain why repaving your driveway is often the most long-lasting solution.
The Water Must Flow
You've probably heard that water can move mountains if given enough time. While you don't need to worry about geological timescales when dealing with your driveway, you do need to worry about water. Water can affect your driveway in numerous ways. Relatively small amounts of water can infiltrate the base, creating frost heaves as it freezes, and runoff can wear away chunks of the surface.
To ensure that your driveway lasts for as long as possible, paving contractors always start by creating proper drainage. Allowing water to drain from your driveway will help reduce the damage caused by water and extend its lifespan. If your driveway currently has water issues, the repaving process may include additional grading to help ensure that water flows away from the asphalt.
In some cases, it may be necessary to cut additional water drainage channels along the side of the driveway or even install drainpipes. Your paving contractor should evaluate your site to determine if these extra measures are necessary. While these options can be costly, they're a great way to ensure that water flows away from areas where it can cause damage.
It's All About That Base (Layer)
In addition to water drainage, a new driveway also requires a solid foundation. A complete repaving project typically involves removing your old asphalt and installing new layers in its place. The base layer (or base course) is the first of these layers, and it helps distribute weight while providing the strength necessary for your driveway to last for many years.
Base layers aren't one-size-fits-all, however. Your contractor will need to evaluate the unique conditions of your driveway to determine an appropriate thickness and material for the aggregate base. These decisions can affect your driveway's ability to resist potentially significant damage, including frost heaving in the soil that makes up the subgrade below the driveway.
The success of any asphalt paving project ultimately relies on these crucial preparatory steps. By ensuring adequate drainage and a solid foundation, your paving contractors can create a driveway that will last for many years without requiring extensive repairs or renovations.
For more information on asphalt paving, contact a company like 801-Asphalt.