How to Pave an Asphalt Driveway

Even though the structure of asphalt pavement is relatively straightforward, appropriate planning and paving techniques are crucial to get a long-lasting driveway. Planning ahead and picking a respectable contractor are two of the most crucial considerations as you prepare yourself to pave your driveway.

Subsoil Preparation

In order to get an asphalt driveway to be as durable as possible, the soil base below the driveway needs to be compacted so that it’s stable and ready to support what is over it. In addition, it is important that the soil be able to drain well so moisture does not cause the asphalt over it to shift. Because of this, sandy soil provides a much better base than clay soil; if your Landscaping price Flagstaff, AZ includes heavy clay, then some contractors recommend taking away the soil and replacing it with soil of a more acceptable consistency.

Asphalt on Aggregate

The conventional way of installing an asphalt driveway involves putting the asphalt pavement above a base made of compacted aggregate. The amount of aggregate used depends upon the soil over that it is being laid; clay soil requires a thicker base layer than sandy soil. After the base is laid, it is automatically hardened and, ideally, left to settle for many days prior to the asphalt paving starts. After the base is ready, the asphalt goes down on top of it in layers until the asphalt is between 2 and 3 inches thick.

Full-Depth Asphalt

An alternate method of driveway paving is to replace the aggregate base with more layers of asphalt. The asphalt is put in layers, or lifts. At a full-depth asphalt installation, the entire thickness of the sidewalk typically is between 4 and 6 inches.

Asphalt Overlay

Installing a layer of asphalt over an current asphalt or concrete driveway is a less costly alternative to installing a new driveway in the subsoil upward. An overlay of asphalt involving 1 1/2 and 2 inches thick is durable — provided that any holes, cracks or flaws in the current pavement are fixed prior to the overlay goes down.

Weather Conditions

Asphalt needs to be hot in order to be viable, therefore installing asphalt sidewalk in cool weather can be problematic. When the air temperature is low, the asphalt cools quickly, and the contractor may not have sufficient time to compact the sidewalk, particularly if the installation involves putting down thin lifts. Using a lift thickness of 1 1/2 inches, for instance, air temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit can cause the asphalt to cool too quickly to get adequate compaction.


When you’re choosing an asphalt contractor, then understand what type of installation the contractor intends to do, as well as how he will handle excavation, base preparation, compaction of the sidewalk, and sloping and scoring of the sidewalk for appropriate drainage. Always request references, and prevent contractors that offer to pave your driveway with asphalt leftover from other occupations.