Asphalt driveways are extremely common all across the United States due to their durability and longevity. However, if you have wet or soft soil, then the driveway may not last as long it would on solid ground. Thankfully, proper techniques can be used to prepare the driveway ahead of time so it does not sink or crack during normal use. Work with your contractor to make sure these techniques are used. A few good examples can also be found in this article.
Invest in Textile and Large Rock Installation
When a new driveway is installed, your contractors will need to dig a large trench in the earth where the structure will be placed. The trench will be quite deep to allow for a 6 to 8 inch stone or aggregate base and a four inch thick layer of asphalt on top. The stone base is meant to provide stability to the asphalt and the consistent pressure placed on the material. However, if your soil is wet or weak, then gravel will not be enough to keep the driveway from shifting. Much more thorough preparation will need to take place.
To prepare the driveway properly, ask your contractors to first dig a trench that is one foot wider on each side than the desired driveway width. This will help to keep the driveway sides from sinking or falling apart. Afterwards, have them secure a piece of either polypropylene or polyester geo-textile across the bottom of the driveway base. This material will allow water to drain while it keeps the rock foundation from slipping into the soft earth.
Once the geo-textile is secured, ask your contractor to use large rocks over the material. Large rock substrates are much more secure than pebble or gravel materials. Once the substrate is placed, then your contractors will likely compress or flatten the material to make sure it is stable before the asphalt is placed. In some cases, the rocks will be left to settle on their own beforehand.
Asphalt is a material that is made up of rock and sand material and a binding agent. This binding material is a hydrocarbon substance that acts like a glue to keep the other asphalt materials secured together. The hydrocarbon material is an oily substance that helps to keep the asphalt flexible over time. This flexibility is ideal to make sure that cracks and divots do not form under the pressure of your car. However, the flexibility is not good for the edges of your driveway.
Typically, the edges of the asphalt are tapered down towards the grass so the asphalt does not drop off drastically and cause damage to your car. The thin asphalt is weak though, and it can easily break away if it sits over waterlogged soil. To prevent this, ask your contractors to strengthen the edges of the asphalt with edging material. Simple pieces of plastic edging can be utilized or you can ask your contractors to secure a layer of bricks on each edge of the driveway.
If bricks are used, just make sure that a few inches of pea gravel are placed underneath them. This can assist with drainage and strength. Also, aluminum edging restraints should be utilized. These restraints sit along the outside and underneath the bricks to keep them from shifting.
If you have wet soil across your property, then an asphalt contractor will need to complete a number of different tasks during an installation to make sure your driveway can last. Adding geo-textile and large stones can be helpful, and so can placing brick edging materials. Your contractors also may be able to offer other types of suggestions, so make sure to ask. You can contact an asphalt contractor by visiting a site like http://armourpavement.com.