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When can asphalt be installed?

In Southwestern Ohio, the asphalt plants that supply us are typically open from early April through mid-December. For parking lots, architects/engineers generally specify 8" of crushed stone for the base, and 3" of asphalt for the surface (the 3" is usually split into two 1.5" layers, with the bottom layer being a coarser material and the top layer being finer). For a driveway,  the norm is 6" of crushed stone for the base, followed by 2" of asphalt (applied in one layer) for the surface. All quantities are for the compacted thickness.

 

What is a 2-inch cap?

A 2-inch cap refers to the installation of a new layer of asphalt over an existing asphalt or concrete surface. A 2-inch thickness is normally specified for a parking lot or a driveway. Caution: always be sure to confirm the thickness your job will receive by requesting the compacted thickness of the new layer(s).

 

When should asphalt be sealed?

A new asphalt surface must cure for at least 60 days prior to being sealed. Driveways may need to be re-sealed every 2-3 years thereafter. Resurfacing of parking lots may be needed more often due to increased traffic.

 

What about cracks in asphalt?

If the cracking is severe, the existing pavement may need to be removed and replaced. In less extreme situations, the cracking may be bridged though the use of paving fabric prior to the addition of a new layer of asphalt. Also, rubberized crack-fillers (hot-pour and cold-pour) may be used to prevent water from penetrating the cracks and causing additional damage.

 

How long should an asphalt surface last?

If there is a suitably strong crushed stone base under the pavement, it should have a useful service life of at least 20 years, at which time it could be a candidate for another layer. With proper maintenance, it is not unlikely for a surface to endure for at least 30 years before requiring a cap.

 

What are the different kinds of asphalt?

Hot-mix asphalt is available in 3 basic types. 'Surface' Asphalt has a high percentage of fine aggregate (sand/gravel); the Ohio Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) designation for this material is #448-Type 1. 'Intermediate' Asphalt is sometimes used beneath the surface layer; ODOT refers to it as #448-Type 2. It has some larger stones in it,which results in some extra strength. 'Base' Asphalt has even larger stones than #448-Type 2, so it provides even more strength as an underlayment; it is known as ODOT #301.

 

Is asphalt better than concrete?

There are pros and cons to each kind of surface. Concrete surfaces usually cost more than asphalt surfaces, but concrete is considered more durable and more permanent than asphalt. An advantage of asphalt is that the surface can be maintained and for the most part it can look 'like new' for many years, but it is difficult to do any effective crack filling or sealing of concrete surfaces in order to make an older concrete surface look new. A sealed (black) asphalt surface will cause snow and ice to melt off much more quickly than a concrete surface. Another consideration is that property tax appraisers often assess you a higher amount for concrete versus asphalt.

 

How much asphalt will it take to do my job?

With a compacted thickness of 2 inches, 1 ton of asphalt will cover 81 square feet. If you know the approximate amount of square feet involved in your job, divide it by 81, and that will tell you the number of tons of asphalt that will be required, at a 2-inch thickness.

 

What is the best way to find out about a contractor's quality?

1) Check their listing with the BBB.

2) Visit their website.

3) Look at work they have done.

4) Ask asphalt suppliers about the contractor's reputation.

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