Getting your driveway paved can be quite an investment in time, money, and labour. This means you shouldn’t just jump into the whole endeavour without stepping back and considering certain aspects that go into a proper driveway installation. Here are some of the things to look for when paving your driveway.

Getting Started

Although there are a variety of materials you can use to pave your driveway, the most common material for residential paving is asphalt; it’s simple, not overly expensive, and relatively easy to install. If you want a different look, however, there are other driveway materials out there. These range from equally traditional concrete to loose-fill materials like gravel, loose stone, and tar-and-chip. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages, so don’t be afraid to do your research. For example, the loose-fill materials typically look better in rural settings but can work in residential areas depending on the surrounding environment.

You might also be wondering about some of the perks of having a nice professionally done driveway. There are quite a few of them, both in the short and long-term.

A high-quality driveway can boost the value of your home, even coming out as a difference between others on the market. It also doesn’t take long to set; asphalt driveways typically take one to two days to become ready-to-use, compared to twice as long for a concrete one. An asphalt driveway can also cost you as little as $250 for the base, although wider and longer driveways can run up to or over $1,000; the essentials will most often be good enough, however, so you shouldn’t worry too much about a ballooning budget. Long-term, good quality asphalt driveways can maintain their quality for around 12 to 35 years, depending on the conditions.

Proper Contractors

Although you can pave a driveway yourself, as there are plenty of good rental equipment places out there, it’s highly recommended to go with a professional paving contractor. They’ll have the experience and know-how to get your new driveway done right and catch any potential mistakes you might miss on your own.

However, it’s equally important to choose the right contractor for the job. There are a variety of ways to do this, thankfully. One of the first is to get multiple quotes; three is often the recommended number, though you can easily get more. This gives you options and allows you to rank every quote based on criteria like price, quotation professionalism, and how the initial meeting went; check for inconsistencies to avoid any red flags.

Another way is to look into the contractor’s reputation. Check everything you can, from their website to customer reviews to references if available. Also, don’t forget to check whether the contractor you’re interested in is listed by the Better Business Bureau and how they’ve handled disputes in the past; this helps tell you both that they’re in a position of marketplace trust and how they’ll react if any problems between you and the contractor crop up.

An often-overlooked aspect is a contractor’s schedule. If they’re good and do quality work, then they’ll often have a rapidly filled schedule, even considering factors like weather. Some might offer immediate work, but it doesn’t hurt to hold out for quality service and materials; sometimes, these immediate scheduling offers can be too good to be true.

Finally, make up a detailed written contract between you and the contractor. You’ll be able to not only protect yourself, but also have a clear outline of what you want done along with other vital specifics like total costs, payment terms, warranty coverage, and terms and conditions. Make sure to read everything carefully and that everything is exactly what you expect; due diligence can be a lifesaver.

Driveway Construction and Necessary Components

Now that you’ve decided on a new asphalt driveway and selected a good contractor, it’s finally time to begin paving. A good driveway isn’t just aesthetically pleasing but also consists of several components that need to be properly laid out for the driveway to be sound structurally.

One of the most important initial components of a driveway is a good foundation. This should include a solid subgrade layer (the natural material pre-existing underneath the driveway, like dirt and clays) and the creation of an effective aggregate base. Without a good subgrade, the ground underneath can remain unstable and end up ruined by heavy vehicles and even time. A decent subgrade consists of something solid like large rocks to anchor the earth, rather than soft soils or clays that can become wet and soft, causing instability.

Proper drainage is another important part of a good driveway; without it, water can eventually get into the asphalt and cause issues. Drainage should be angled away from the pavement, ideally accompanied by a slope. Your contractor should have effective methods to do so, such as a French drain.

Naturally, appropriate materials are another vital point; the right asphalt mix can make or break a good driveway. Although some contractors have their own asphalt mixers, others may get their mix from a local plant; the ideal mix should be finer than highway mix and possess more binder over air voids. The driveway’s look also depends on the mix’s gradation; if you want a smoother look, finer gradings are necessary.

Finally, a special note must be made concerning driveway maintenance; proper maintenance means your driveway can last for decades under the right conditions. Always take care of the driveway’s drainage and seal any cracks as soon as possible. The latter prevents water and debris from entering the asphalt proper, causing damage; if you don’t like the appearance of crack seals, you can seal the whole driveway to maintain uniformity.

If you are looking to pave your driveway or parking lot before the winter hits, we still have available time slots at West York Paving! Visit our website today to browse our previous jobs, then give us a call to schedule an appointment.