One of the drawbacks to using asphalt concrete is that if the temperature is too cold when it is put down it will start to crumble very quickly, what this means is that in much of the country there is a ‘season’ for being able to put down new asphalt, and sometimes that period only lasts a few months. However, the fantastic weather in Florida means that you can have asphalt paving laid down at almost any time of the year.
Paving or Pavers?
Paving and pavers are not interchangeable terms. Generally, the term “pavers” refers to brick paving stones that can be used for pathways or driveways, although generally are not used for larger areas or for heavy traffic spaces. Whereas “paving” usually refers to the black asphalt concrete surface that can be used for driveways, roads and parking lots. However, asphalt can also be stamped to create a ‘paver’ look and texture.
Is there anything like the smell of fresh rain on a dry asphalt road (that’s called ‘petrichor’ by the way)? That may not be your primary reason for wanting to invest in the paved driveway though. Usually, people are more attracted by the speed in which you have a surface that is both beautiful and able to be driven on. Although concrete can also be lovely, it is generally more expensive, but also takes much longer before you have a useable driveway.
Asphalt paving is made from a mix of stone and sand which is then combined with asphalt, the mix is heated to over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it has been heated and mixed the professional contractors will quickly lay the asphalt and it will then be smoothed out before being compressed with a heavy roller or compactor.
Laying asphalt paving is a job for specialized contractors like pavingflorida.com, and not something that should be attempted yourself (however, repairs and sealing treatments can be done as a DIY project, although again it is easier and generally you will get a better result if you hire the professionals). Generally, you will be able to drive a mid-sized car on asphalt paving within two days, however, it may take months for the driveway to be fully hardened to be able to cope with heavy machinery. If you are planning on having trucks or major work that will see an influx of vehicles traversing your newly laid paving it is advisable to speak to your contractor before they start work so they can adjust the mix and advise you on the appropriate options to suit your needs.
Your asphalt paving will look complete within an hour – although your contractor may still need to continue compacting the surface for longer. As soon as the asphalt has cooled it will start to set, and you will be able to walk on it (although you should still go gently – stiletto heels may actually cause damage in the very early stages).
New, Old, Something In-Between?
If you already have a driveway that you want to update with an asphalt one, you will need to decide if you are going to pave over it or have it removed. Although you can simply put the asphalt paving straight over the old driveway, chances are high that the reason you are wanting new paving is that the current driveway is in a state of disrepair. This means that paving over the top is doable, but the results may not last as long.
Your other option is to pull the old driveway up, and then you are in the situation of effectively having a brand-new paving project. Your decision then becomes one of do you wish to put the asphalt directly onto soil or put down a stone/sand mix first.
When you sign up a contractor to put in your asphalt driveway, you will, of course, get a quote. However, you will need to confirm that they take care of additional costs that may be encountered. One of these is permits, which although specifics and definitions may vary from city to city, generally will require permitting via the Florida Department of Transportation www.fdot.gov. This may also require paying for inspections as well as the paperwork.