It's time to get your driveway paved, but what do you need to know before you hire a contractor? When making an investment in your home as significant as a driveway, professional installation and proper care can make as much of a return on that investment as possible. An inadequately paved driveway is likely to last only a couple years, but a well-paved driveway can last as long as 20 years. Here are a few things you should know about getting your driveway paved and what you can do to help it stand the test of time.
Before laying down any asphalt, a good paving company will plan for proper drainage. Well-done driveways will have a steady grade from top to bottom and from one side to the other. This protects your driveway from puddles and water damage and directs rainwater away from your basement or other undesirable areas. If your driveway does not have proper drainage, your paving company may need to apply a deeper layer of base material.
Good support for your driveway helps to create a smooth, even grade that is both more attractive and more durable. It reduces cracks and depressions in your driveway. The pavers will plan the base material and the placement of your driveway in order to give it the best support possible.
After they have applied the asphalt, you will need to wait anywhere from 12 to 48 hours before you drive on it. The asphalt will continue to harden over the next twelve months, so it's wise to pay extra attention to how you treat it the first year after it has been paved. Some ways you can prevent damage include:
- Avoid parking your vehicle in the same place every time or for an extended period of time. This can cause depressions in the asphalt.
- Place a piece of wood under kickstands, the tongues of campers or trailers, car jacks, and anything else that focuses weight into a small area. The wood spreads the weight out and decreases the chance of divots. Even a bicycle kickstand can put marks into the asphalt.
- Turn power steering wheels only when the car is moving. Tires spinning in place can scar the surface. If the asphalt is very new, it can even tear it.
- Apply a sealcoat after the asphalt has dried for the recommended time. For residential driveways, the best time is usually around go days after it was paved.