If your home doesn't currently have a paved driveway, then adding one can be a massive boost to its liveability and long-term value. However, installing a new driveway can come with a few challenges. Although your paving contractor will help you work through these, it's helpful to know the steps you'll face before you begin the process.
Whether you're adding a long driveway that cuts across a significant portion of your property or a short connection to an existing garage, the main elements of the process are usually the same. These three steps will outline what you'll need to make your dream driveway a reality.
1. Initial Evaluation and Preparation
Before work can begin, your contractor will need to evaluate your site and help you understand any potential issues you may face, such as drainage problems. Proper grading is essential since poor drainage can threaten the driveway sub-base. This lower layer is critical for your driveway's longevity in the same way that your home's foundation is crucial for its structural integrity.
After evaluating the site, your contractor will usually need to perform at least some grading. Altering the slope of the landscape ensures that water drains away from the driveway in a way that will minimize damage from flooding or frost heaves. In many ways, this step will have the most significant impact on your driveway's durability and performance.
2. Base Course Installation
The base course sits atop the sub-base and acts as the lowest asphalt layer of your driveway. Remember that asphalt acts as a binder, and the bulk of your driveway consists of an aggregate composed of small particles, such as rocks and pebbles. The base course typically uses a coarser aggregate mix to provide stability and thickness of the entire driveway.
As with sloping and sub-base preparation, the base course has a more significant impact on your driveway's long-term health than the surface layer. Although you don't see this part of your driveway, it's an essential element to provide stability and durability.
3. Surface Course and Finishing
Finally, your contractor will lay the surface course, which is the smooth, black surface you probably think of when picturing an asphalt driveway. The surface course consists of a much finer aggregate blend to improve your driveway's appearance and functionality. While your driveway's lower layers provide support, a durable surface layer is still necessary to protect those foundations.
Your installers will also perform finishing work during this phase. These jobs typically include creating smooth transitions and compacting the asphalt to ensure a smooth surface. Once completed, your asphalt driveway should provide you with many years of service. For more information, contact local residential paving contractors near you to learn more.