View Full Version : Asphalt driveways?


Steevo
10-05-2009, 02:27 PM
I am planning to (eventually) have an asphalt driveway laid from the front of my house, around to the back to where my new shop is. I'd like to know what a good asphalt driveway thickness is, and over what type of compacted base is best for longevity.
I plan to build concrete borders, probably a foot deep and at least 8" wide with footers stepped under the driveway side for good strength and edge support.

Do you have an asphalt driveway?
How does it hold up to plowing in winter?
How does it hold up to surface impressions in summer?
How thick is your asphalt driveway?
How did the cost of asphalt compare to concrete for you?

mustangmccance
10-05-2009, 02:47 PM
I am interested in all these same questions as I want to do the same.

GreenRodder
10-05-2009, 03:05 PM
In this part of the world the majority of driveways are asphalt and the rest are unistone. In any case, they hold up well to snow plows as long as the plow operator knows what he's doing. You have to be careful in the summer the first few years because on very hot days you can leave impressions in it. Make sure your kids don't leave they're bikes on the kickstands during the hottest summer days. The kickstand will sink right in. My driveway is about 3-4" thick, and has a base of 3/4 crush gravel and smaller crush to level. I'm no expert but I think that's how most are done. You do have to reseal the driveway every few years to keep it from cracking. From what I've been told cost will change depending on area, and for some reason we just don't do concrete driveways up here.

Gilbert1960
10-05-2009, 03:08 PM
Steevo,

I have an asphalt driveway, 11+ yrs same surface. It was put in over existing asphalt so I don't know about the base, but the resurface thickness is only 3" thick.


A few things to do to make it last:

Make sure it has some slope to let the water run off
Use an asphalt fabric underlay to minimize cracks
Fill any cracks ASAP to prevent water from getting underneath
Sealcoat it every couple of years
If possible push snow and ice completely off the surface
Be careful with the concrete borders since concrete and asphalt expand at different rates and cracks will open up between them.

Water is a killer to asphalt driveways, do everything you can to keep it off and out from underneath.

e-tek
10-05-2009, 04:09 PM
I am interested in all these same questions as I want to do the same.

Mee too Mee too!!!

Steevo - sounds like we have a similar set up.
I have an exisiting "old/original" drive on one side, then grass in front of where my shop is now. I want asphalt to go over the crumbling concrete, then over the soil part up the shop.
I got a quote of $7K last month for it. About 8' x 100'. He said going over the old cement is great, but need to bring in crsuhed rock over the dirt to make that part solid.

malibu101
10-05-2009, 06:39 PM
When I lived at home my parents blacktopped the driveway/parking lot. It was just crushed stone before. Anyway, like was said, even a bicycle's kickstand often will make a mark on a real hot day.
What I'm getting at, which was my biggest problem with it is- forget about using a jack and jackstands. Instant divots. Period. I had to use boards to put the jack/stands on after that.
If you ever plan on wanting to use something like I'm talking about outside of the garage floor please consider a concrete area for work like that. I wish my dad would have.

battmain
10-05-2009, 07:20 PM
I bought my house in '94. Last year was the first time I used seal coat on the asphalt driveway because the city inspector wanted me to. Thickness, you got me on that. But based on a previous repair, it seemed pretty thin to me with a sand base. I don't get snow where I am. I cannot use a floor jack or jack stands without making marks, or gouges, but it is pretty hot where I am. I normally use blocks of wood under anything. A lot of the houses in the neighborhood are doing stamped concrete with an epoxy coating. They do all the prep work.

tcianci
10-05-2009, 08:08 PM
I have an asphalt driveway. It is 30 years old now, never been sealed, has no concrete sides to contain it and it is in really good shape. It does have a couple of cracks, the primary one being down the center where the 2 passes of the paver came together. The trick to longevity of an asphalt drive is the base, not the thickness. A good compacted base of crusher run and the proper slope for drainage will buy you many years of good service. I do ocassionally run some crack sealer into the cracks. Just about this time of year actually because water in the cracks and freezing is an enemy of asphalt driveways. The thickness is about 3 inches or so. We have cut up and removed many thinner ones that were in good shape. Thick or thin, it's only as good as what you're putting it on. I did the crusher run base, let it sit and used it a driveway for a year and then paved it. Some contractors will quote you a 2 coat job with a coarse binder and a finish top layer that has a finer stone. Others will do a one pass job of a material that is in between in coarseness. I like the sightly coraser one myself it seems to dent less with kickstands, jackstands and the like. It plows beautifully and is about 30 to 40% the cost of concrete around here. I'm in MA so we get many freeze/thaw cycles per winter. If you live in an area where it freezes, forget your concrete edge/footing idea. The concrete will heave and take the asphalt with it. Asphalt alone will move uniformly with the frost and settle down nicely again in the spring. You can get divots in it from jackstands as was mentioned so puting some plywood under your stands will take care of that. I don't understand the comment above about keeping water off it, water doesn't bother the stuff at all.

lilredex
10-05-2009, 08:11 PM
Got really tired of laying out steel sheets to keep jacks and stands from sinking in to the asphalt..........so went for the good stuff (concrete) in 2004. It is 6" along the side and 4" in the back of the house. Cost $17K but it is the way to go for a trouble free working drive.

Be careful who you hire, asphalt contractors around here are known to offer the minimum (then cheat on that) so they can come back every few years to re-lay it. One outfit in particular has all new trucks painted up to look like a circus rolling in to town. Bright yellow and red and they travel in a convoy from job to job, really does look like a circus with all their trailers and equip.

Looked around a couple of years before deciding on my father and son team......was worth the wait and the work finding them.

stinkythings.com
10-05-2009, 08:33 PM
Steevo,
I think Tcianci hit the nail on the head. The most important factor when planning an asphalt driveway is the preparation. 8-12 inches of crushed concrete well packed !

Stuart in MN
10-05-2009, 08:42 PM
You may want to consider putting in a concrete parking pad by the shop and doing the rest in blacktop - that way you won't have problems in hot weather if the car is parked outside.

mikester
10-05-2009, 09:59 PM
I have an asphalt driveway that was put down in 1982 and it still looks decent. Ive got a couple of cracks that have widened over the past few winters. Back in 82 the popular base for asphalt was large bluestone. It could be graded one day and topped the same week. Now everyone uses a base similar to RCA. My buddy just had a driveway put in and they put the base down and waited weeks to put down the asphalt top coat. The longer RCA is exposed to rain and people driving on it the harder it gets. I dont really think its as good as the heavy bluestone. Some of the state and county road paving jobs call for the bluestone base in the specs. I think the private guys use RCA because its so cheap. Also dont forget that there are different grades of asphalt. The size of the stone in the mix makes a big difference. Some plants have used recycled glass as a filler. Ive seen roads and driveways sparkle like diamonds in certain light. There are also different grades of the RCA base. I think most pavers in my area use a base that has a cement mixed in so it gets hard. The other thing about asphalt is its good to have some type of border so the edges dont crumble. When mine was put in they used CCA 6x6s. They lasted about 10 years and they fell apart. I see Belgian block, cement curbing, pavers, and some places use steel bands. My driveway has no border at this point but that works for me because its easier to plow the snow off of it.

nate379
10-05-2009, 10:13 PM
I just got my driveway done 2 weeks ago actually. Was $2.20 a sq ft.

Driveway is 24x85 and a 15x30 ft pad on the side.

RCA as in road course aggregate? Here we call that D1 aggregate. $10 a ton.

It's best to not let it sit in the weather too much because the fines wash away and the driveway starts to rut up.

thammel
10-05-2009, 10:15 PM
I'm in MD. Had new asphalt put in this past year to interface with new attached garage. What everyone says about the base is most important. And the 3-4" thickness is pretty standard.

Sealcoating is a very debatable topic. Many asphalt guys say don't do it - of course they want to re-pave and have that axe to grind. The asphalt guy I used also does sealcoating and he says it's only done for asthetics. Personally I think if it's done well that it should help keep the freeze cracking issues at bay. I used to to do a prior house asphalt sealcoating myself with the latex based stuff. Was a messy pain in the butt job. Recently I've payed a sealcoating company to do mine - looked ok but I doubt the benefits as the stuff is just too thin to really seal small cracks.

Yes, I too use 2' x 2' 3/4" thick plywood to support jack stands on the plywood and a larger piece goes under the roller jack. (New large 32 x 28 garage should obviate the need for them!)

Key to a good asphalt guy is local recommendations and longevity. Be sure to get references. Get multiple quotes because prices can vary greatly.

I recently had a 10' wide by 80' long section recoated. He also filled in a low spot from a prior pave 6 months earlier and cut out the ends for smooth interfaces with the adjoining asphalt. The cost was $1500 so it was a shade under $2.00 per square foot. This paver did a co-worker's driveway (new) 30 years ago when he built his house and then 2 years ago when he had it re-paved. I thought this was a decent recommendation!

Good luck!
Tom

mikester
10-05-2009, 10:24 PM
Out here in NY RCA is recycled concrete aggregate. Probably the same stuff. But Ive seen some of the places that sell stone and topsoil selling a mix of concrete, stone and even red brick and they call that RCA too.

PurdueSD
10-06-2009, 08:02 AM
Do you have an asphalt driveway? Yes, it sucks!
How does it hold up to plowing in winter? Holds up ok in the winter as long as the cracks are sealed. If the plow truck spins its tires it will mark though.
How does it hold up to surface impressions in summer? This is my biggest gripe, my damn propane grill will sink in over night.
How thick is your asphalt driveway? not sure, several inches...
How did the cost of asphalt compare to concrete for you? My drive was here when i moved in. I would never, ever put asphalt down on my own. In fact when it comes time to redo again, concrete will be going in. Dont forget to factor in sealing cost every couple years.

tcianci
10-06-2009, 08:34 PM
I it is interesting to see the differences of opinion on this matter. There are those who, like everything else they get involved in on here seem to have no tolerance for the well documented characteristics of a certain material or system. Sure, asphalt gets softer in the summer when its hot. That alone is enough to have every asphalt contractor arrested and sentenced to death. Lighten up guys, its a freakin driveway. And for the nay sayers, remember that this is a regional thing too. Up here in the northeast, you would be hard pressed to find more than a few concrete driveways in any given town. We do them here but the cost is usually prohibitive and the freeze/thaw cycles favor the asphalt. But the asphalt CRACKS you say. Aren't you the same guys who joke that there's only 2 kinds of concrete... the cracked kind and the kind that hasn't cracked yet?
And don't forget to factor in the sealing cost every couple years! When was the last time you saw anyone seal an asphalt road. Why does this material which works so well all over the country for road paving suck so bad for driveway paving? There is really no arguement that a properly installed concrete driveway is a top of the line feature for any home or shop but in some places it doesn't seem worth the trouble or expense. And you know that a typical builder will only put in what will provide reasonable service. It's spendy enough to put nice features into a house let alone the driveway.

Steevo
10-06-2009, 10:11 PM
tcianci,

Thanks for that reality check.
We do occasionally get rather full of ourselves, don't we?
I do appreciate all of the "real" responses from people that have actually had asphalt driveways. It has been most helpful.

nate379
10-06-2009, 11:29 PM
In Idaho you'd be fine to do concrete. Very common in Mtn Home anyway. Even still based on driveways around town I'd say 15-20 years max out of it before it's cracked up to the point of needing to replace it.

My friend's place here was built in 85-86 and it still had the original asphalt driveway, still is in decent shape.

I had looked into doing a concrete pad in the front of the garage but it was going to be expensive. I figured if the asphalt didn't work out 5-10 years from now I can put a concrete pad. :) It's not something normally done around here because of the cost and lifespan with the freeze/thaw.

The asphalt they use here is fairly soft but sinking of a propane grill, I have not seen that before!

gsport
10-07-2009, 01:16 AM
i've got about 7,000 sq. ft. of asphalt and i'm totally pleased with it.. don't know much about it, it was down when i moved here..
http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m261/gsport_2006/shop.jpg

malibu101
10-07-2009, 07:28 AM
Gsport's picture above is exactly what I was talking about.
Notice the apron in front of the pole building- just enough concrete to set/jack something without the blactop issues.

rieferman
10-07-2009, 08:43 AM
another vote for "asphalt is just fine" here. Grew up in CT and 25 years of horrible winters and hot summers.. no problem. Was playing basketball on that nice surface the day the moving trucks pulled up. We never sealed that driveway either as the mess of it just wasn't worth it as long as you have proper drainage.

I have a 1/2 basketball court at my current house that we installed 2 summers ago, asphalt over stone base as tcianci describes. It's maybe 30' x 30' or so. All in, excavating to level [with enough slope for drainage] through to finishing 3 inches of material, that cost me $2000 and that's including the hole they dug for my basketball hoop while they were here. A couple marks from my neighbors dump truck sitting on it while it was fresher and stuff like that, but otherwise beauty

mybuickgs
10-07-2009, 08:44 AM
I have 1/4 mile asphalt drive way. It is 4 years old and so far so good. I would add that it is very important to spray some type of week killer underneath before pouring. Asphalt acts like a fertilizer when it comes to weeds. This can destroy a newly laid job quickly.

nate379
10-07-2009, 03:29 PM
Looked into it for my place and a 15x20 ft (300 sq ft) pad in front of the garage would have been ~$2000 in materials and about that in labor. Compared to ~2500 sq ft of my driveway done in asphalt for not much more.



Gsport's picture above is exactly what I was talking about.
Notice the apron in front of the pole building- just enough concrete to set/jack something without the blactop issues.

malibu101
10-07-2009, 05:20 PM
Looked into it for my place and a 15x20 ft (300 sq ft) pad in front of the garage would have been ~$2000 in materials and about that in labor. Compared to ~2500 sq ft of my driveway done in asphalt for not much more.
Whoa :shocking:
I didn't know the price for concrete (and all that needs to be done for it) was that much!
I guess I could live with using boards or steel plates under the jack/stands at that price.
My garage now opens to an alley so I must do everything inside the garage. Sometimes, depending on the job and weather, it's nice to work outside the shop and I kinda miss that from living at home.

Joe69
10-07-2009, 08:38 PM
I have worked for a paving contractor for 15 years and here's my 2 cents on sealcoating. It definitely helps. It's not intended to seal cracks, that's what crack sealer is for. Sealcoating seals the pores in the asphalt. Moisture under the asphalt will kill it, especially with freexe and thaw. As was said before, the sub-grade is the key. If you have a solid base, the asphalt will hold up well.

Joe

jjkrjh
10-07-2009, 09:35 PM
We've had asphalt drives at the last two homes and I hate them. They are too hot to walk on in the summer. They are damaged from fluids leaking on them. High traffic areas have ruts from the tires. Turning the steer tires without moving churns up high/low spots. You can't have any heavy vehicles. The edges aren't straight (like concrete), so the lawn edge isn't as nice. More upkeep. You can't have a trailer that sits on the driveway or it will sink.

It's nice to have a driveway that you can use without having to babysit it. I haven't priced this year. But, when I built the garage asphalt prices were closer than I would have thought to concrete.

nate379
10-07-2009, 11:22 PM
A good portion of the cost would have been rebar and the work needed to set all of the metal. A slab without metal would last maybe a few years out in the weather around here.

Whoa :shocking:
I didn't know the price for concrete (and all that needs to be done for it) was that much!
I guess I could live with using boards or steel plates under the jack/stands at that price.
My garage now opens to an alley so I must do everything inside the garage. Sometimes, depending on the job and weather, it's nice to work outside the shop and I kinda miss that from living at home.

PurdueSD
10-08-2009, 09:14 AM
A good portion of the cost would have been rebar and the work needed to set all of the metal. A slab without metal would last maybe a few years out in the weather around here.

4Gs for 300 sq ft is absurd...:wtf:

Where do you get 2 Gs in material, 1//2" rebar every 2"?:confused:

Falcon67
10-08-2009, 10:03 AM
FWIW - Concrete around here is about $100/yd delivered. That's just the muck in a truck, no crew AFAIK.

I'd like to know what cheap azz asphalt is getting used on the driveways mentioned. The black top at the drag strip here was put down over compacted dirt and is maybe 1" thick, 2" if it was a low spot. The lower part of the parking lot has gone to hell because of water migration and 40,000lb stacker rigs parking down there. Up by the fence, I park a total of 11,000 lbs of truck and trailer in one space, 9000lbs in the next space, unload two race cars and use a floor jack and jack stands almost every weekend. Been parking in the same spots since 2003 and there are no ruts or oddball depressions. Yes, the surface is deteriorating because of the cheap initial application but it's holding up surprisingly well. It's still better than any track parking within 150 miles.

They replaced the shutdown and return road two years ago. Dug out the old stuff and it was paper thin in most places. They tore out about 1500' x about 50' wide. 100 loads of base, plus topping ran right around $250,000.

CBR9Seadoo
10-08-2009, 10:24 AM
Here is SE MN, I am getting ready to put down ~5500 Sqft of Concrete @ $110/yrd and a some asphalt @ $1.65/sqft. I originally had asphalt and the previous owner didn't take car of it at all and it was pretty much falling apart after 10 years. When I tore it up it was 1/2" to 1" in some places.

saabman
10-08-2009, 10:38 AM
20 year old asphalt here in Maine, still going strong. As everyone says, the key is foundation. If you follow the mantra that your driveway is to drive on and your concrete garage floor is to work on then you will be fine (I failed to live my this when I lived in Virginia, much to my chagrin). Asphalt in a hot climate gets very soft and jack stands will sink (as to trailer ramps)

I plow my own driveway so I take care not to carve it up. I dont use shoes on the plow, so the blade rides directly on the asphalt (this does a more complete cleaning). Of course shoes on the plow are designed to guide the blade over rought terrain (a ragged paved driveway, or dirt/gravel driveway). The biggest challenge is not hurting the driveway, but the push areas (lawn) as they are soft in early winter. Truck sinks down and I have to be careful not to carve up the grass.

malibu101
10-08-2009, 11:42 AM
Here is SE MN, I am getting ready to put down ~5500 Sqft of Concrete @ $110/yrd and a some asphalt @ $1.65/sqft. I originally had asphalt and the previous owner didn't take car of it at all and it was pretty much falling apart after 10 years. When I tore it up it was 1/2" to 1" in some places.
Concrete- Do you mean a square yard?
1 square yard = 27 square feet.

You are looking at (about) $1.65 a yard for asphalt and $4.07 for concrete- Is that what your saying?
I never knew crete cost so much.

nate379
10-09-2009, 01:55 AM
No, rebar on 6" grid, I don't know the size... whatever is standard. Shit is expensive in Alaska.

The rough prices I got where in the $3500-3800 price range.



4Gs for 300 sq ft is absurd...:wtf:

Where do you get 2 Gs in material, 1//2" rebar every 2"?:confused:

PistolWhip
10-09-2009, 03:18 AM
I don't know how old my asphalt is or how thick it is because it was pre-existing when I bought my house.
As a driveway, it's absolutely fine. It hasn't worn to bad in the 5 years that I've lived here and as long as I keep it clean and keep up with the grass around the edges, I don't have any issues with cracks.

HOWEVER, since I have a small one car garage right now, I am forced to most of my automotive work on my driveway. For this, asphalt SUCKS! I have to put 1/2" peaces of plywood under anything that intend putting weight on. Even just jacking my car up for a few minutes to change the oil or swap out the tires, results in the jack and/or stands digging into the asphalt which is a very dangerous scenario not to mention seriously annoying.
I actually had a jack stand fail due to be partially on the asphalt and partially on concrete. I had my car up in my garage and didn't realize that one leg of my jack stand was on the asphalt surface (the former owner painted it to match the concrete on the edge of my garage for some stupid reason). The stand completely failed, causing the car to collapse. Scary to say the least, but luckily it happened kinda in slow motion.
Now no matter what, I make sure that anytime I lift a car, I use a large peace of 1/2" plywood to disperse the weight.

tcianci
10-10-2009, 02:34 AM
When people talk of concrete being so much per yard, they are referring to a CUBIC yard of concrete or 27 cubic feet, the square footage you yield from that depends on the thickness you are installing it at, for instance, a cubic yard of concrete would yield 9 square yards for every cubic yard @ 4" thickness.

ymerej
10-12-2009, 10:35 AM
For all of you that are complaining about jack stands sinking into asphalt or having to use plywood, how about welding a metal plate to the bottom side of the jack stands? The stands I have always used at my parents house were made by my grandfather many many years ago with angle iron, pipe, and a solid plate bottom. There's no way they can ever sink into the pavement, and the plate should increase the strength too.

Packard V8
10-12-2009, 11:30 AM
My asphalt driveway and parking area is 150' long and the parking area is 50' wide and it is 35 years old. We get a month of 90+degree weather and I've never had a problem with jackstands or floor jack sinking in, much less bicycle kickstands. Must have used a tougher grade of asphalt back in the day.

Agree, the base is everything. Base material is so much less expensive than asphalt, there is no such thing as too much base depth or preparation.

Jack Vines

CBR9Seadoo
10-12-2009, 03:56 PM
When people talk of concrete being so much per yard, they are referring to a CUBIC yard of concrete or 27 cubic feet, the square footage you yield from that depends on the thickness you are installing it at, for instance, a cubic yard of concrete would yield 9 square yards for every cubic yard @ 4" thickness.

This is what I was talking about. Thanks for explaining.