Asphalt is undeniably one of the most durable paving materials. Yet if not installed correctly, you may find an asphalt driveway giving out long before it should. If you would like to improve your knowledge of asphalt installation best practices, read on. This article will discuss three important things to know when installing a new asphalt driveway.
The most common mistake made when it comes to an asphalt driveway is to install it directly on top of leveled dirt. You see, even if this dirt has been appropriately compacted, it still remains at risk of shifting and settling as the result of water, time, and other geological factors. This will hasten the rate of development of potholes, cracks, and other asphalt problems.
To promote stability and longevity, it is important to install the asphalt atop an appropriately thick layer of crushed gravel—no fewer than six inches deep. This gravel is compacted to pack it tightly together and provide the best possible base for the asphalt. It also helps to disperse water trickling down from above, thus keeping your asphalt safe from constant contact with water-saturated dirt.
A common problem where asphalt driveways are concerned is that the edges begin crumbling and deteriorating long before the rest of the pavement. In almost all cases, this problem is directly tied to a gravel base of an insufficient width. When cars drive along the edge of such a driveway, the asphalt lacks a strong enough foundation to resist the pressure of the vehicle.
Avoiding this problem is simple. All you have to do is install a gravel base that is no less than one foot wider than the driveway that will sit atop it. This extra width means that no matter how close a car drives to the edge of the asphalt, it will remain firmly supported from below.
Even a gravel base won't make your asphalt driveway completely immune to the destructive elements of water. The problem here is that, over time, soil will tend to work its way upward into the gaps between the gravel. Eventually, this dirt will form a solid matrix, one that will retain water and keep it in close contact with your asphalt. This will hasten the rate of breakdown significantly.
The secret to preventing this issue from causing problems is to install a sheet of geotextile beneath the gravel. Geotextile is a dense, durable type of fabric. It acts to form a blockage against the relatively fat soil particles, while still allowing water to move through it. This keeps the gravel and the soil safely separated for many years to come.
Talk to a company like Home Outdoor for more tips on how to lay an asphalt driveway successfully.