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How Do I Install Asphalt Paving?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
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Installing asphalt paving can be a very labor intensive task that can be extremely complicated if specific steps are not followed, and if the preparation phase is not completed properly. This hot asphalt task begins with marking the area and then goes into preparing it, and then framing it in with lumber before spreading the bedding layer and the asphalt itself. It is very important to have the area completely ready before attempting to lay the asphalt, otherwise it will not be smooth and durable. If a contractor is going to be hired to install the asphalt paving, be sure that the preparation phases are done correctly, on time, and that the professional has numerous years of experience with plenty of references.

To begin with, the area in which the asphalt paving is going to be installed into needs to be marked. Choose a starting point, such as next to the garage door, and place a wooden stake into the ground. Continue around the exterior perimeter of the area and pound in a wooden stake at each corner. In order to get this area symmetrical, either use a laser level or measure from one corner to the other, mark the numbers down, and then measure the distance between the other corners. If these numbers match, then the area is square. If the new driveway is going to be oddly shaped, then break it down into smaller squares and repeat this process in each section.

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The next step in the preparation process is to dig out the area and get it ready for the gravel and asphalt. Run a string from one wooden stake to the next, and dig the area out inside of them down to at least 20 inches (50.8 cm). Use a tape measure to ensure that the entire area is level, getting it as close as possible as long as it is below the depth required. In order to make sure that this bed does not settle and ruin the asphalt layer, compact the entire area down with a gas powered compactor. This is one of the most important aspects of all the stages of laying an asphalt driveway because if the underlayment is not solid and level, the next layer will not be either.

The next step in the project is to build a solid foundation layer before the actual asphalt paving can begin. Use some cheap lumber and build a barrier around the entire perimeter, making sure that it is flush with the ground and protrudes above the surrounding landscape. If the pieces need to be secured down into the ground, use small stakes along the outer edges.

After the soil has been compacted down, the next phase of the asphalt paving project can begin. A layer of landscaping mesh needs to be stretched across the area, and then levels of small gravel, commonly called pea gravel, needs to be installed. Install this layer by separating it into five different small layers and compact each down after it has been leveled with a rake or shovel.

The area is now ready to complete by laying the asphalt paving. Spread this around, making sure that it is sloped appropriately for water run-off, and compact it down before it dries. If the area is large it would be worth the investment to get a large roller so the area is compacted properly and quickly. Allow the new asphalt driveway to set for about 48 hours before driving or walking on it.

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