If you’re planning to pave or reseal your asphalt driveway, you may be looking for ways to shorten this process and minimize the amount of time you’ll need to park on the street or walk through your yard to avoid marring the fresh asphalt. However, not all asphalt is created equally — and certain additives and paving processes can make the process much easier (or harder) than it has to be. Read on to learn more about the materials and tricks that can help you complete your project as quickly as possible while still leaving a high-quality driveway surface.
When should you pave?
If your current driveway is in especially bad condition, you may not have much control over the time of year when you begin your project. However, if you are able to choose your timeline, there are some advantages to paving during the fall, winter, or early spring.
Less “curing” time
If you’ve ever spent some time near a fresh asphalt road or driveway when it’s very hot outside, you may have noticed how easy it is to make indentations in the asphalt surface, or to even use a sharp edge to pry up a bit of asphalt to make a hole. Asphalt’s reaction to hot air can present problems when it comes time to pour and spread this mixture to create a solid surface. If you’re facing a long stretch of very hot weather, it may take your asphalt substantially longer to fully harden than when this asphalt is spread in cooler conditions.
Ability to use cold mix or recycled asphalt
Because typical asphalt is mixed and spread at very high temperatures, crews seeking to patch or repave roads during the winter have had to come up with a more cold-friendly alternative — “cold mix” asphalt. The advantages of this asphalt over “hot mix” asphalt are discussed in greater detail below, but this substance provides yet another boon to winter construction by allowing you to avoid the use of less durable “hot mix.”
What types of materials can shorten the paving process?
One type of asphalt prized for its durability and versatility is cold mix asphalt. This asphalt is slowly heated until it is pliable (not liquid, like hot mix asphalt), and can then be rolled out to seamlessly cover the existing pavement. Because there is less of a temperature difference between cold mix asphalt and the underlying paving surface, the risk of this asphalt peeling or pitting is substantially reduced. (In some cases, rolling out hot mix asphalt onto a colder surface can interfere with the asphalt’s adhesion.)
Another great option for winter paving is RAP — reclaimed asphalt pavement. Not only does the use of recycled pavement help keep old asphalt out of landfills (and avoid using expensive petroleum to create fresh asphalt), this pavement already contains all the binding agents and other chemical components needed to help it seal to itself and to the paving surface.
RAP generally must be mixed in with either hot or cold mix asphalt before it can be spread — most mixtures that are considered “high RAP” are composed of at least 25 to 50 percent RAP. Occasionally, other recycled petroleum components (like used rubber tires) may be ground and mixed in with the RAP to increase durability and recycled content. This mixture can significantly decrease the cost of paving, helping you save your hard-earned money. Should your new paved surface need to have cracks or holes repaired after a few years, you may opt to use hot mix (during summer), cold mix (year-round), or a RAP mixture to perform these repairs.
For more information, contact a local paving contractor.