Paving is one of those things most of us don’t think about too much. It’s underfoot, and most of it exists beneath the surfaces we are on anyway. Most people don’t know how deep roads are, or what the differences are between concrete and asphalt paving. Plenty of people don’t know that you need the right kind of paving for large semi trucks, tractors, and construction equipment. Meanwhile, paving around the patio or for a home driveway is a far easier process. At Reliable Paving, concrete and asphalt paving is our bread and butter. We’ve set up a handy guide for how to do your commercial paving right the first time. Follow our advice, and you won’t have to worry about serious damage and constant repairs for years to come.
Step 1: Removal of the existing surface
The first thing you will need to do is get the surface-to-be-paved ready.
If the surface is already paved, or has been built on before, it will require demolition. You will need heavy equipment if there is an existing structure or pavement. Front loaders, Bobcats, dump trucks, and even jackhammer are needed for destruction and removal of existing pavement. The same heavy equipment can also be used to remove that pavement once it is destroyed. Even if no construction exists, the land must be dug out to a certain depth to make room for the asphalt.
The good news is, the debris doesn’t have to go far. When it comes to asphalt, just about 100% can be recycled and used in the new pavement. This saves everyone time and money, as new materials don’t have to be purchased, or transported to the site.
Step 2: Surface preparation
The newly-exposed surface must be prepared for water drainage. The main damaging factor of asphalt is water. When water seeps into paving, it expands and contracts. This creates cracks/holes and expands existing spaces, as the water cools and heats up. Thus, we need the surface graded. This essentially means that the surface will have a slope to it, so water runs off and doesn’t pool. When you see a parking lot with vehicle fluid or water pooling on it, it has either not been graded properly, or the asphalt has been laid poorly on top of it.
Step 3: Subgrade
Also known as the sub-base, it is one of the most important parts of the asphalt installation. The sub-base determines how much load your asphalt can take. It will also be key in making sure your asphalt remains damage free. The subgrade must be compacted, so that it does not further compact while in use and cause structural damage. The compaction also helps prevent water from getting in it and causing problems like frost heave and expansion of the ground beneath the asphalt. Subgrade should be free from plants, especially roots.
Long story short, subgrade must be properly compacted, flat, and graded (sloped), if it is, it will greatly extend your asphalt’s life. Sub-base is the foundation of your asphalt. As you go up from beneath the ground, the sub base will go from coarser materials, like rocks and stones to more tightly-compacted, finer materials, like sand. The last level of subgrade before the asphalt layer itself should be a find crushed powder.
Step 4: Laying the asphalt itself
If you deal with any paving contractors who start the asphalt process here….then you are in trouble. The asphalt should only be laid once the area has been cleared, graded, and an appropriate foundation put in.
This process has a few steps:
- The asphalt/concrete debris that was cleared earlier is re-pulverized. On-site heavy equipment will crush the used asphalt down to it’s aggregate. Aggregate is made of the tiny rocks, stones, and particles that make up the vast majority of all asphalt.
- The aggregate will be mixed with a petroleum-based binder. This is what keeps it together and contiguous.
- The binder layer is put down often before the main aggregate is laid. This creates a strong, tough layer that provides much of the asphalt’s structural strength.
- Heavy machinery pavers are used to lay the asphalt on the prepared surface. These pieces of heavy equipment lay the asphalt in a wide, flat swathe.
Step 5: Connections and joints
The asphalt that is new will most likely connect to some existing asphalt. To do this, butt joints and transitional areas are added to smooth the change from one surface to another.
Step 6: Smooth it down
Once the asphalt is laid, it’s time to make it level. With everything (for the time being) put down, it’s time to roll it out. A steam roller, roller truck, or other heavy piece of equipment is usually driven over the newly-laid asphalt in order to smooth it. There should be no visible bumps, depressions, or large chunks of aggregate protruding when this process is done.
That should complete the first part, however, after a few months, you will want to take some steps to preserve your new asphalt construction. Inspect it for any signs of damage/cracking, and seal coat it, to prevent water permeation.
Get your paving done right, the first time
Reliable Paving has been in the business for over 35 years. We know the ins, outs, tried and true, and bold new ways to pave. As paving contractors, we take pride in our work, and you can rest well knowing that our asphalt paving will be the highest quality available. With the right maintenance, it will last you decades. Message us today, and we can start your paving project immediately.