Curing Your Asphalt
Once your driveway is installed, it needs to cure to harden up. With cooler temperatures, the asphalt will harden faster. In warmer months, the heat from the sun is absorbed into the black driveway and keeps it soft.
It takes up to a year for asphalt to cure. When asphalt is under a year old, it is soft and vulnerable to damage. Scuff marks can occur when the wheels of stationary vehicles are turned. This can also happen when warmed by the sun.
Avoid “stationary steering”!
Asphalt needs to cure to gain strength. This is when the oils that bind the aggregate together solidify. Several variables affect the curing process, with time and temperature being the most important.
Oxidation happens when the dark oils on the surface of the driveway will evaporate/wear-off and turn the driveway back to the normal colour of the aggregate (greyish). This is normal in the life of asphalt.
Strength of the Driveway
The strength of the driveway has a direct correlation with the size of the aggregate; the larger the stone, the stronger the driveway. Typically, we use ½”– aggregate mixed with a sandy mixture. This type of mix balances both strength and aesthetics and is most suitable for residential driveways. While paving with a finer mix will provide a smoother look, it is more susceptible to displacement under the strain of a car tire or other weighted object; and paving with a coarser mix will be stronger, but will not have the same visual appeal.
How Much Asphalt?
We typically lay down asphalt 2 ½” thick for driveways, compacted to 2”. This is suitable to meet the needs of a typical homeowner as it is a good balance between cost and quality. If a heavy vehicle like a camper or trailer is to be parked in the same spot for a long time, then it could be preferable to increase the thickness to 3”.
Homeowners should be aware that some contractors will say they’ll install a 2” driveway, but actually lay down only 2” and compact to 1 ½”. It is important to confirm this in writing with the contractor beforehand.
Be wary of contractors who will give you an exceptionally low price. These contractors will not do proper preparation and will give you a substandard job – quality is not their concern.
Why Choose Curtis Paving?
Curtis Paving takes pride on being a North Shore company and enjoys most of our work locally. We will provide you with a quality job and proper customer service that will add value to your home. We are happy to provide references of past work.
It is important to remember that your driveway has been installed for residential use and could suffer damage if heavy trucks or overweight vehicles frequently use it.
Our crew works diligently to ensure the best possible result, and that includes grading the driveway to have the water flow in the desired direction. In some instances, it is possible that water will be held on the surface and will not drain immediately. This is due to the oils in the new asphalt holding the water and will work itself out as the driveway ages.
The Life of Your Driveway
The biggest factor in determining the life of your driveway is the gravel base. The appearance is affected by the water flow, and the structural integrity is determined by the thickness of the base and how compacted it is.
If water is held on the driveway that is up to ¼” deep, this is considered normal.
Do not drive near the edges or off of the driveway especially within the first year. The asphalt is still curing and you will run the risk of fracturing the edge and causing it to crack or break off.
Weeds can be a problem – specifically horsetail, dandelions, and bamboo. These have been known to grow right up and through the asphalt even after proper steps have been followed.
Horsetail and bamboo have shoots that grow sideways underground. These must be removed from the vicinity of the new driveway prior to installation to avoid potential damage.
It is unlikely, but possible that some seeds or spores may be present in the gravel mixture used as base and then accelerated to growth with the warmth of the asphalt. They will become evident as bumps and then as eruptions on the surface. Once they have grown to this stage, the only solution is to pull them out, jab the roots with a sharp object and pour weed killer or salt on it.
Curtis Paving is not permitted to use weed killer.