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Industry standard practices for Seal Coating/Asphalt Paving

There are several steps involved in fixing of a pavement structure, and each step is crucial to the long term success of the asphalt. If any one of the method is done short of just what is required by industry standard practice, during the installation process it will greatly decrease the durability and life expectancy of the driveway. 

So knowing the industry standard practice is very important as you will know what is done to your pavement and if the contractor satisfies all the standard practices for seal coating/asphalt paving.
The steps are as follows:

Excavation of existing material

It is in the preparation stage which sets the future success.  As contractors state in all of their estimates, all unusable material will be dug out and removed from the job site.  In many cases, we need to dig down up to one foot if we are removing loam, stumps or other soft material.  In most cases, paving over your existing full depth driveway is not a good idea as it doesn't allow us to correct the sub base concerns.  If there is significant cracking, they will likely reflect upward into and through the new asphalt within a short period.  Concrete can never be paved over with asphalt. Well equipped excavation equipment, skid steers, and dump trucks will haul away this material.

Installation of base gravel and grading of surface

The proper installation of the base material beneath the asphalt provides the foundation for the  pitch and durability of the overall structure.  On average 4" to 6" of recycled asphalt product (R.A.P.) is used by well known contractors.  This product is most often spread by a skid steer, is engineered specifically to be laid beneath asphalt, compacts very well, and is set at the proper pitch to allow sufficient water drainage. Grading the gravel base correctly allows asphalt laying to occur easier later.  As need be, use of laser level or transit to ensure pitch for water to be channeled in the most appropriate direction.  The gravel is then rolled with a vibratory roller, and it is repeated once again with a hand compactor.

Purchase and laying of hot mix asphalt

Once the surface is properly prepared, fleet of dump trucks are sent to the nearest asphalt mixing plant to purchase the freshly batched hot pavement mix.  Having the proper trucking capacity allows the contractors to remain operative, productive, and minimizes material cooling down time.  In most cases, the asphalt is laid in two levels, or lifts.  The first lift is called a binder course, and consists of a larger stone with greater strength.  The second lift, or top coat, has a finer stone and provides a clean finished look.  State of the art paving equipment is used in order to provide the highest quality finish. Having the best equipment by contractors is further assurance that your new driveway, installed will be the best possible.

Compaction and the finished product

the most important and final step in the paving of your driveway is the compacting process.  Without proper compaction, the asphalt structure will not hold together and not endure season to season. Upon the laying of each lift of asphalt, as with the base gravel, the surface is rolled with a vibratory drum roller, and then further compacted with a hand compactor. Edges are generally hand tamped to provide a 45° angle, providing the necessary strength to support vehicle weight. When your driveway abuts an asphalt street, the joint is always cut out so the two surfaces meet flush underground.  A sure way to break off the edge of a pavement structure is to "skim coat" it to a thin layer over the neighboring surface.  This results in asphalt that is too thin to support sufficient weight, as well as allow snowplows to lift it up.  Once the process is completed, your driveway will be durable, attractive, and will improve your property's value.



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