Paving a Road From Start to Finish

5 Steps

Many people think that asphalt paving is a simple process: pour it and let it harden. It’s actually not nearly that simple, but it doesn’t need to be overly complex either.

Whatever needs paving, there will be the same basic steps in each paving project. Maybe you are a commercial developer working on a new lot, or a city street nearby needs paving, whatever the circumstances, we can give you a detailed outline of how the project should look. This can serve you in several ways: you can make sure your paving contractor is doing the job right, you can also communicate more effectively by asking the right questions through each part of the process. Finally, if it’s a small project, you might get the knowledge you need to do one or more of the steps without any outside help.


This is an often overlooked step. You, the business owner or developer, will need to ensure you have the following:

  • Approval for the city for paving the area you choose.
  • Environmental issues with the area need to be addressed, such as drainage.
  • The location needs to be clearly defined. If it is a busy thoroughfare, there will need to be some kind of alternate route for people to get around it. Even if it isn’t a place that sees a lot of traffic, there will need to be alternate routes around the location for pedestrians and commuters.
  • The goal of the project should be clearly defined. What are you paving? What is its function? Is it a road, driveway, or parking lot? Is the space being paved for vehicles, pedestrians, cars, cyclists, or heavy machinery? Who is using it, the public or some private individuals? How much use will it see? This is a difficult thing to figure, as many variables need to be considered. Ultimately, you need to know how much use it will get, what kind of use it will be, and who will be using the new paved area.
  • What is the timeline of the project? How long will it take from breaking ground until it can be used?
  • What is the budget?

Preparation and Excavation

The difficulty of this step varies significantly according to what was there before. Was the site location another road? It may be easier to prepare. Was the site an old building that needs to be torn down? Well, there will be a lot more work. You should also check what is under the site to make sure the new paving can handle the load from use.

During this process, grading and sloping of the site is also incredibly important. This determines drainage. Water is the main factor in asphalt/concrete damage, so ensuring that your site will have proper drainage will save a lot of repairs, money, and headaches later on.

Finally, the ground to be built upon will have to be compacted. This is a technical process that usually involves special equipment and skill. It’s something you will almost certainly need a professional paving contractor to perform.

Building the sub base

Now that the ground beneath is ready, it’s time to lay a sub base. This is the material upon which the actual pavement will lie. It can vary from compacted soil and loose rocks in home/residential construction to much more complex layers of increasingly-small aggregate. Aggregate is a combination of small rocks, crushed rocks, and stones that. In many roads, the sub base layers has 4 layers.

  • Bottom layer: compacted soil, also called sub grade.
  • Layer 2: Sub base aggregate material. This can be loose rocks or stones compacted tightly.
  • Layer 3: Base course. Usually a finer aggregate material than the sub base, like sand.
  • Layer 4: Paver base. This final base before the pavement usually is the finest aggregate. Rock is finely crushed into a powder that the pavement can lay smoothly upon.

Laying the asphalt

During this process, paving contractors will use heavy equipment to pour hot mix asphalt onto the top layer of the sub base. Asphalt, unlike the other layers, is not just an aggregate material. It also includes a binder, which is usually made from petroleum. The petroleum binder makes up a tiny portion of the asphalt, usually around 5%. As you may have guessed from the name, the binder is essentially the “glue” that holds the asphalt together as one contiguous piece.

After pouring, the asphalt will be leveled and compacted after pouring. Additionally, joiners will be built to connect the asphalt to other pavement. Roads connect to other roads, driveways, sidewalks, etc. Special attention should be paid to ensure transitions are smooth.

Finally, asphalt will be checked for final smoothness. The contractor will make sure there aren’t bumps or small build-ups, and a roller truck or some other piece of heavy equipment will fully flatten the new paving.

Despite its use of petrochemicals, asphalt does not actually have a terribly powerful environmental impact. It is one of the most recycled materials, and it sequesters vast amounts of carbon dioxide.


Once the asphalt is poured in the right location, all you have to do is wait. It may be safe to walk on once it has cooled and hardened initially, in the first few days after pouring. Complete hardening may take weeks or up to a month, depending on the ambient temperature.

When this part of the process is done, the asphalt is good to go.

Pave your projects the right way

At Reliable Paving, we know what we are good at. We ensure total care and proper procedure during every stage of the paving process. Not only do we take care to do our best work, but we communicate proactively and are present to answer questions, and provide recommendations throughout each step of paving. If you want a project done well, to exacting standards, and reliably, then don’t hesitate to contact us today and get the best paving you can.