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Things to ask asphalt driveway contractor?

milon

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2023
Messages
11
Location
United States
Hello all. I need to get my driveway paved. I'm not a big fan of outsourcing anything, but this one is above what I can handle.

The asphalt contractors by me are fast talkers, all have different opinions, many are related and pricing is all over the damn place.

My driveway is roughly 80x20.
It's asphalt now and is a total disaster. My snow blower threw a good portion on the lawn this year.
It's roughly 20 years old, but it looks 40 years old.

Some guys say tear up the driveway (which is what I want), some say go over it, which sounds like a wreck on a wreck.

What depth should the base be?
What depth should the asphalt be?
Any special materials for the base?

I'm likely to have 20+ more years at this house and I'd like to not do it again.

Whoever did my current driveway did a crap job, whoever did my neighbor across the street about the same time 20 years ago did a great job since other than tree root damage his driveway is pretty nice.
 

milon

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2023
Messages
11
Location
United States
Hello all. I need to get my driveway paved. I'm not a big fan of outsourcing anything, but this one is above what I can handle.

The asphalt contractors by me are fast talkers, all have different opinions, many are related and pricing is all over the damn place.

My driveway is roughly 80x20.
It's asphalt now and is a total disaster. My snow blower threw a good portion on the lawn this year.
It's roughly 20 years old, but it looks 40 years old.

Some guys say tear up the driveway (which is what I want), some say go over it, which sounds like a wreck on a wreck.

What depth should the base be?
What depth should the asphalt be?
Any special materials for the base?

I'm likely to have 20+ more years at this house and I'd like to not do it again.

Whoever did my current driveway did a crap job for whoever did my neighbor across the street about the same time 20 years ago did a great job since other than tree root damage his driveway is pretty nice.
thanks in advance for any help
 
Last edited by a moderator:

skyking1

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
7,792
Location
washington
going over a bad job is as you think, a really bad idea.
It needs a really firm base. That can be 6" of crushed rock, or it might take more rock or some fabric to stiffen things up. It is impossible to say what is needed without pictures and descriptions of the current condition.
There is a whole lot that goes into a good job. It has to match the garage slab and the street 80' away, but between those two points, what a contractor does (or does not do!!) will make or break a good job.
 

cuttin edge

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
2,765
Location
NB Canada
Occupation
Finish grader operator
Base is important, but so is the asphalt. Go look at other jobs they did. There are companies that don't own a plant, just paving gear, and they buy their asphalt. Asphalt mixed with a quarry material seems to be stronger than round screened rock. Unless there is a foot or more cover over your ditch pipe, it will crack eventually. 6 inches of crushed would be nice, but it is overkill unless you are driving over it with something bigger than a pickup. I have prepped many driveways and parking lots with a couple inches of gravel with great success. Recaps are fine if the old asphalt is not heaved or broken up too bad. I have seen times when bad sections were dug out, and prepped for 2.5 inches with an inch over the asphalt that was left. Most times heaves can be caused by issues underneath. I know most of the area we work in, and have a good idea what to expect. I would prep your 20 foot driveway, 21 feet wide. That would give you a bit of a shoulder, and should someone drive of the edge, it won't break. You can always landscape to the edge afterwards. One thing to avoid is those drive by sealers. Most of them use gas or fuel to cut their liquid, and it breaks down the asphalt over time. I mean that's what we use to clean our shovels truck boxes and the spreader. Most of the time, it is broken up in small squares. One thing to consider is doing an area where you will park, a bit thicker than the lane. It's mostly in the mix. We had a bad batch man once, and those driveways failed in a couple years. One thing you could do is prep it yourself, and just get someone to pave it. They price here based on an average thickness of 2 to 4 inches of 1 inch minus. I try to use existing material to get the shape and grade, but sometimes I have to use more gravel. Asphalt is 2 to 2.5 inches for a private driveway. Holds up fine. A lot of city streets are only 3 inches if there is no truck traffic. A good rule is that if you have enough fall, make sure your mat is higher than your lawn as over time, lawns tend to get higher. The company I work for has been mixing asphalt since the 40s and have gained a reputation for quality. I have seen some fly by night outfits in the bigger cities, so it can be a crap shoot for sure.
 

Steve Frazier

Founder
Staff member
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
6,645
Location
LaGrangeville, N.Y.
Your base will be determined by your soil and drainage conditions plus the weight of the vehicles you anticipate using it. If it's real wet you might want to install some curtain drains under it then your base. High clay conditions could require a geotextile fabric to keep the base material from migrating into the clay. If you're capable of doing this work yourself it might pay to bring a consultant in and give you some specs to work from.

Once you've squared away the base the thickness of the asphalt will again be determined by the weight of the vehicles. Asphalt is best laid by a paver and better contractors will have one. You might request the asphalt receipts to ensure you're getting the tonnage put down that the specs call for. It's imperative that the contractor have a roller heavy enough to compact the asphalt properly.

I worked for the largest paving contractor in my area for a few years and paved a LOT of roads in the area, many from scratch. That was 40 years ago and I'm having trouble remembering the particulars of the equipment we used.
 

cuttin edge

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
2,765
Location
NB Canada
Occupation
Finish grader operator
What are prices like in your area? At 2.5 inches thick, your driveway is about 20 metric tonne so like 21.6 ton. We were getting $300 bucks a tonne rolled for tie ins this summer, but that was government work. Not sure what they are getting now for private asphalt. Prices have jumped a lot. If it were just 2 ten foot strips and not a lot of prep involved, it would be under ten grand for sure.
 

CM1995

Administrator
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
13,490
Location
Alabama
Occupation
Running what I brung and taking what I win
For an 80x20 driveway have you considered concrete?

Concrete drives are the norm here unless it's a long drive or an expensive estate type home.
 

KSSS

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2005
Messages
4,345
Location
Idaho
Occupation
excavation
If there are pot holes in the sub base or sunken areas in driveway, I would say you have a sub base issue and it should be redone. If its just the asphalt that is bad, then pull all the asphalt, regrade/compact and put back about 2.5" of asphalt. We typically prep with 4-6" of 3/4 road base. If the sub base is bad we will go with 6-8" of pitrun under the 3/4. Sometimes we will put geotextile down under the pitrun. I would pull and prep yourself, but just know a common tactic from some asphalt companies is to say your prep was incorrect, and needed more asphalt. I would prep it and walk it with the asphalt contractor to make sure there are no issues to keep from getting overcharged for additional asphalt.
 

IceHole

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
694
Location
AK
For an 80x20 driveway have you considered concrete?

Concrete drives are the norm here unless it's a long drive or an expensive estate type home.
Id do concrete for at least the front of the shop and anywhere else trucks are parked.

My old driveway had divots all over from stuff parked for more than a few days. Hell even a few cords of firewood sitting a couple weeks made divots!
 

cuttin edge

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
2,765
Location
NB Canada
Occupation
Finish grader operator
Seems like there are a lot of shady contractors around. We are winding down paving operations. The cold is setting in early and fast. Unless it's a government contract, anything that can't be done in one strip is being put off till next season, too many cold joints. Finished a one strip driveway prep today. Home owner wanted to add on beside his garage, and said to add it to the bill. A couple passes to level the base for gravel, and I almost got stuck. If this was part of the estimate, it would have been on us to undercut, filter cloth and backfill, but because it was never quoted, it would be coming out of his pocket. My boss gave him a price to do it right, and he said just back drag it and pave it, and he would take his chances. Boss said we wouldn't pave it unless it's done right as it looks bad on us. He wants to wait until next year, so he is just going to pay for what has been done so far. I am curious to see if someone else paves it this week. One thing I do find is that the owners won't put their name on a job that will probably fail. and people do say we have a good name
 

CM1995

Administrator
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
13,490
Location
Alabama
Occupation
Running what I brung and taking what I win
One thing I do find is that the owners won't put their name on a job that will probably fail. and people do say we have a good name

As they should. It takes years to develop a good reputation and one job to ruin it.
 
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