Paving in Cold Weather: Secrets from Paving Pros

Questions to Ask an Asphalt Contractor Before Paving a Driveway

Getting an asphalt driveway can be a good choice when you're ready to repave, as asphalt is often more flexible than concrete and not as likely to crack and chip under heavy loads or due to very cold weather. The dark color can also look good against a lighter home or make it stand out from the dull and drab concrete around it. When you're ready to have asphalt poured for your home's driveway, note a few questions to ask asphalt contractors so you know the job will be done right and will last for years to come.

1. Does the asphalt need a base?

Whether or not asphalt needs a base often depends on the soil conditions where it's being installed. Your contractor might want to test the soil of your property to note how soft and moist it is, or you can note if your current driveway has a lot of cracks and seems to have shifted. This is a very good sign that the soil and the area under the driveway is not stable and a base for the asphalt can be needed. Note these problems with your asphalt contractor or discuss the possibility of needing a base with him or her before work begins; you may want to invest in a base even if it's not absolutely necessary, just to help the asphalt last as long as possible.

2. Can recycled asphalt be used?

Recycled asphalt can often be used for a home's driveway but note that it may not be as stable as new asphalt. In some cases this might result in tar being tracked into your home or clinging to your car's tires and sides. A good alternative is to use a certain percent of recycled asphalt with the new, so that you are helping to preserve the environment with recycling but not risking the material breaking down as much as it might if the entire mixture was from recycled material.

3. Always ask how to maintain the asphalt

Usually asphalt will need to be sealed, but you don't want to add sealers too often as they might just build up and allow for moisture to collect around your driveway. You should also know the right mixture or filler to use for cracks and other such damage. Your contractor should also tell you when it's best to call them back for repairs rather than trying to fix cracks and other such damage in the asphalt yourself.