THE ASPHALT PAVING PROCESS
The installation of a new driveway or parking lot can be a substantial financial investment, so you should expect the best quality from your contractor. Utilizing proper construction methods, a common driveway in New England will last approximately 35 years. There are several steps involved in the removal and replacing of a pavement structure, and each step is crucial to the long term success of the asphalt. If any procedure during the installation process is done short of just what is required by industry standard practice, it will greatly decrease the durability and life expectancy of the driveway.
Step #1: Excavation of existing material.
An asphalt structure is only as good as what's underneath it. Paving over soft ground or on top of damaged asphalt will surely cause the new pavement to crack and fail. It is in the preparation stage that the future success is set. As we state in all of our 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. Also, in most cases, paving over your existing full depth driveway is not a good idea as it doesn't allow us to correct sub base concerns. If there is significant cracking, they will likely reflect upward into and through the new asphalt within a short time period. Concrete can never be paved over with asphalt. We are well equipped with excavation equipment, skid steers, and dump trucks to haul away this material.
Step #2: Installation of base gravel and grading of surface.
The proper installation of the base of material beneath the asphalt provides the foundation for the pitch and durability of the overall structure. We use on average 4" to 6" of recycled asphalt product (R.A.P.) This product, 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 for sufficient water drainage. Grading the gravel base correctly allows for easier asphalt laying to occur later. When necessary, we will use a laser level or transit to ensure pitch, so that water is channeled in the most appropriate direction. The gravel is then rolled with a vibratory roller, and next it is gone over once again with a hand compactor.
Step #3: Purchase and laying of hot mix asphalt.
Once the surface is properly prepared, Nu-Look sends its fleet of dump trucks to the nearest asphalt mixing plant to purchase the freshly batched hot pavement mix. Having the proper trucking capacity allows us to remain operative and productive, and minimizes material cooling and 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. Nu-Look uses state of the art paving equipment in order to provide the highest quality finish. Our paving machine, a LeeBoy 8500, was purchased new in 2009 and has received the highest level of continuous maintenance available. Having the best equipment is further assurance that your new driveway, installed by Nu-Look, will be the best it can be.
Step #4: Compaction and the finished product.
A 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 endure season after season. Upon the laying of each lift of asphalt, as with the base gravel, the surface is rolled with a LeeBoy vibratory drum roller, and then further compacted with a hand compactor. Our edges are 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 allowing snowplows to lift it up. Once the process is completed, your Nu-Look installed driveway will be durable, attractive, and will improve your property's value.
Nu-Look Seal Coating Company
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