Questions and Answers

The following is a list of frequently asked questions. Scroll down to find answers to your questions on asphalt paving and maintenance and call us for a free estimate at any time. We do repairs all year round.

UNDERSTANDING ASPHALT PAVING

QUESTION: Can you please explain the Pave process?

ANSWER: Paving is complete when the hot bituminous mix (“hot top”) is applied. In some instances, two layers – the binder course and the surface course – are applied. If two courses are applied, the same hot top mixture is used for both courses. The thickness of each layer, or course, is a compacted thickness. Normally, about two inches of compacted hot top is plenty for household driveway traffic.

QUESTION: What is the curing process, and what does it mean?

ANSWER: Asphalt, like cement and other surface protectors, cures as it gets older. It completely dries and cools with the passage of time, becoming harder and harder.

QUESTION: Can you excavate and pave on the same day?

ANSWER: Many factors contribute to determining whether or not we can excavate and pave on the same day: The condition of the driveway, its age, time of year, weather conditions, and the condition of the base. In general, the base does have a better chance to settle and compact when you wait longer to add the asphalt.

QUESTION: What will happen if my driveway is not properly compacted?

ANSWER: Cracking, crumbling, or sinking of the asphalt, are signs of the driveway that was not properly compacted.

QUESTION: What questions should I ask when getting estimates from paving contractors?

ANSWER: In order to assess a fair comparison of quotes, it is important to ask:
– How many inches, and what type of asphalt will be poured?
– What type of equipment will be used?
– How long has the company been in business?
– What is their best estimated time frame to do the job?
– Will they be adding gravel if necessary to create a proper base?
– What is guaranteed?

QUESTION: How long will my new asphalt driveway last?

ANSWER: There are several factors that can affect the life expectancy of a driveway that are beyond a paving contractor’s control: Soil type, water damage (flood and ice), the types and numbers of vehicles using the driveway, etc. You can expect an average well-cared driveway to last for approximately 10 years.

QUESTION: Should I be concerned with Fine grade?

ANSWER: Yes! Fine grade involves shaping and sloping the gravel base to achieve good drainage and allow proper placement of your new pavement. If your new driveway is always a puddle because the Fine grade was not done correctly, it will not be of much use!

QUESTION: How long after my asphalt driveway is done, can I drive or walk on it?

ANSWER: Depending on weather condition and nature of the work, a typical asphalt application will take approximately 24-48 hours for new asphalt to properly set up. Thereafter, you may drive or walk on it. During the first 12 months, we highly recommend using care and caution as it takes about 8-12 months for the surface to properly cure.

QUESTION: Can I drive and park on my driveway before the asphalt is poured?

ANSWER: Yes, you can. Using your driveway before the asphalt is poured will assist with the compression and settling of the base. The base will not be harmed if you use it.

QUESTION: Can I put a layer of asphalt over concrete or on existing paved area?

ANSWER: Yes. The area must be swept clean and damaged areas repaired or existing cracks in the concrete or old asphalt will eventually show through the new asphalt surface

QUESTION: I was quoted an excavation fee to have my driveway redone. What does that entail?

ANSWER: Excavation pertains to digging up the existing material in or around the paving area. This is done for various reasons. For example, it may be necessary to excavate to widen the paving area or to replace the existing material with a proper base material in order to support the new pavement you requested.

QUESTION: Should I invest in Overlay, or just redo my driveway?

ANSWER: This really depends on the shape of your driveway. Overlay involves resurfacing older pavement with a new layer of hot top mix, and is typically all that needs to be done unless there are some major foundation issues with your driveway that need attention.

QUESTION: What is the difference between “resurface”, “remove and replace”, and “repair”?

ANSWER: “resurface” – This is when a top layer of asphalt is added over existing driveway, and NO excavation or base repair is done.
“remove and replace” – This is when the old driveway is excavated and removed; a new base is created and compressed, then new asphalt is added and compressed.
“repair” – This is when a small damaged area is heated (usually with a blow torch) and re-compacted to fix holes, repair cracks, and correct drainage problems or aesthetic issues.

ASPHALT MAINTENANCE

QUESTION: How long will pothole repair job last?

ANSWER: If surfaces are properly cleaned and the right amount of asphalt glue and compaction is applied, it should last 2 to 4 years.

QUESTION: Why do potholes occur?

ANSWER: The number one reason is lack of maintenance. Water gets trapped in the cracks and into the sub-base which then becomes weak and vulnerable while cars are passing by especially during climate changes.

QUESTION: How do I prevent this?

ANSWER: With an annual Crack Sealing Program. It is also recommended to seal your parking lot every 2 years.

QUESTION: I had an asphalt paving job done 5 years ago. It now looks faded. What causes this and how can I make it look new again?

ANSWER: To enhance the aesthetic appearance of your pavement, we recommend new seal coating to protect and seal the surface from further sun damage and normal wear and tear due to age. This will further help protect the surface from oxidation and weather condition and changes.

QUESTION: Why do I need to seal coat my asphalt pavement?

ANSWER: Seal coating will prolong the life of an asphalt coated driveway or parking lot. Asphalt is a combination of sand, stones and liquid asphalt cement. Through time the sun, salt and water exposure will cause the cement to evaporate. This will cause the asphalt to turn gray in color. This gray color indicates pavement that has too much sand and stone compared to the amount of asphalt cement. It has usually started to harden at this point can become brittle. If left untreated, frost (or any other movement in the base) will cause cracking. Properly applied seal coating will minimize, if not completely eliminate, the damage done by sun, salt and water.

Also, exposure to the environment causes a natural oxidation and drying of asphalt. This is a good thing during the first 6-12 months because it makes the asphalt become more firm. After the first year, the oxidation starts to harden the pavement. This leads to a loss of flexibility (hardening) and eventually will cause cracks. By seal coating after the first year, the asphalt can be protected from oxidation and significantly extend the life of the pavement.

One of the most destructive forces to pavement are leaks and spills. You will notice when you try to wash away the spill, it seems to stick/penetrate the surface of the pavement. Properly sealed pavement will resist the damage caused by oil, gas, etc.

Finally, there is a problem presented by asphalt cracking which is the result of hardened or brittle asphalt. When the ground freezes and thaws, the normally flexible asphalt will bend with the ground. Once the asphalt has hardened or becomes brittle, cracks will form when the ground is freezing/thawing. Obviously it is best to seal before there is severe cracking and deterioration. However, cracks can be sealed and asphalt repairs done in most situations.

CATCH BASIN REPAIRS

QUESTION: My catch basin is sinking or there is a hole on the side of it or it’s sitting too high and water can’t get in or it’s too low. How much will it cost to fix it?

ANSWER: A standard catch basin built on catch basin rings (modualocks) will generally be cheaper to fix. Some other types are built on a brick and mortar system. This repair normally requires removal of all the bricks and rebuilding with modern catch basin rings. Other types of catch basins sit on only the pre-cast concrete itself and require custom repair work. Prices will therefore vary with the type of catch basin and on how many catch basins there are to be repaired. Keep in mind that drain work may be required if pipes have come apart from the outlet hole in the base of catch basin.

Contact A.I.M. Services Ltd today with any questions or conerns you may have about your driveway.

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