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Installing an asphalt driveway

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Installing an asphalt driveway

A nice level, smooth driveway is the fervent wish of many homeowners. In reality, though, it's harder to achieve than one might think. Concrete is expensive and takes a significant amount of time to set. Asphalt is inexpensive and sets within hours.

Cheaper Options Than Hot Asphalt
If you're repairing an existing asphalt driveway, before you consider taking on the more expensive project of laying new asphalt you may want to look at some cheaper alternatives. For a generally cracked, ugly driveway, you can buy driveway sealer and crack sealer from most any hardware or home improvement store. This is the fast, cheap way to seal up cracks, seal the surface as a whole, and black it again. For everything else, you'll want hot-mix asphalt.

Hot-mix asphalt is the very same asphalt you see burly highway road crews laying down. For the homeowner, though, hot-mix asphalt does not involve big machines. It's the same material but the application process is more basic. Hot-mix asphalt is an aggregate of gravel and sand mixed in with hot, liquid asphalt. When we say "hot" we mean it. Hot-mix applies at over 300 degrees F, and quickly cools to a workable 175 degrees F.

Overlay Versus Full Depth Asphalt Driveways

With hot-mix asphalt driveway, you have two options: overlay or full-depth asphalt paving. As the name implies, overlay is a thin "overlay" of a thin layer of asphalt driveway over your existing driveway. Your existing driveway, as bad as it might be, still needs to provide a firm, substantial base, or this option will not work. The second option is to jackhammer your existing driveway and lay down a full-depth asphalt driveway.

As you can guess, the full-depth asphalt driveway is the more expensive option. Not only do you incur the cost of jackhammering the existing drive, but you must lay down a bed of gravel before the asphalt. Oh, and did we mention that the layer of asphalt must also be thicker? That adds to the cost, too.

Few Voices for Consumers

Read up as much on the subject as you can before calling any contractors. The topic of asphalt driveway paving is pretty much dominated by the industry, with few voices dedicated to the consumer.

For more information, come see us at EasyRenovate

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