Insight for a Proper Asphalt Driveway Preparation

A good driveway consists of a proper foundation, good grading, earthwork, and follow up maintenance. Here are some recommendations about installing a driveway made of asphalt that will stand the test of time, traffic, and weather due to proper grading and foundation preparation.

Ensure a Stable Foundation

One of the first priorities for your asphalt pavement installation is the right foundation with a stable and durable make-up. If your driveway is going to be paved over a driveway that has been originally made of gravel, this is going to provide you a potentially successful foundation that you may not need to put very much improvement or grading into. A base made of compacted gravel that has been driven upon for years by heavy vehicles will compress the gravel down into the soil and compact the soil in place, making an ideal foundation. 

Your asphalt contractor will check the foundation to make sure it is of sufficient strength and supplement any areas that may need it. They can check for areas of soft soil that need strengthening and can add in a compression of gravel for hard drainage qualities. However, if the gravel layer is too soft or there is no gravel and only a layer of soil, your paving contractor will excavate the soil and replace it with stable materials, such as crushed gravel or road base materials.

Install the Proper Grade

Along with ensuring a strong foundation for your asphalt, the foundation also needs to be graded to the proper standard for successful draining of your asphalt driveway. When rain falls or sprinklers get your asphalt wet, the water needs to be able to flow away from the surface of the asphalt. Pooling water on your asphalt will only result in permeation of the moisture down through the asphalt's layers, causing cracking and erosion damage. Your asphalt surface will eventually crack and fall apart into potholes.

Your professional asphalt crew will grade your foundation so it is a flat surface but provides a slight slope, which can be nearly indiscernible to your eyes: only precipitation will show the slope. The grading can be off to one side or the other of your driveway, or can slope down toward the entrance of your driveway. If your contractor slopes the driveway toward your home, make sure they install a drainage grate to collect water so it does not flood into your home and its foundation.