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Uncategorized  /  April 27, 2023

From Design to Installation: The Paving Process Of a Professional

One of the biggest misconceptions about installing a new asphalt parking lot is that the material is simply poured and tamped down. In actuality, there are several steps a commercial paving company performs to create smooth surfaces to drive, walk, and work on. 

If you have a planned paving project, this article will provide you with a quick overview of the entire paving process. 

Planning Your Paving Project

Having a new driveway installed involves more than requesting a few quotes over the phone. When you contact a commercial paving company about your asphalt needs, plan on having them come out to inspect the area. 

First, they will determine if a strong enough base is needed to support a paved surface. Even if you are replacing an existing lot or drive, this step must occur. If you have a drainage issue that caused your current hardscape to crack or shift, this lets the pavers know that additional grading and compaction might be necessary. 

They will also note if your base is on a sloping surface and determine what additional steps are necessary to ensure your pavement’s stability. These and other issues are important to discover before work begins so you receive an accurate estimate and clearly understand the project’s scope. 

The Demolition and Grading Phase

Pavement requires a solid foundation. So whether you’re installing a new driveway or replacing an entire parking lot, demolition and excavation of existing asphalt, stone, concrete, and other debris must be removed. 

After removing unwanted material, grading will take place to ensure the foundational ground is even and provides adequate drainage. Pooling water can destabilize paved surfaces, so it’s crucial these issues get dealt with beforehand. 

Once graded, the surface gets compacted to remove any uneven or loose earth so your new asphalt or cement surface won’t develop weak points that lead to shifting or cracking. After this step, contouring the land to match your project’s layout takes place. 

The Sub-base 

With the ground prepared, the next phase of your paving project is the sub-base. This layer is vital to the long-term durability of your new pavement. 

It serves several functions, including:

  • Creates long-lasting durability by providing stability to all the upper pavement layers and traffic load
  • Acts as a barrier against frost heave

This layer may contain recycled asphalt, recycled concrete, or crushed rock. The material used depends on the amount of traffic your new pavement will bear and other project factors.

Prepared Surface Check

Now that the sub-base aggregate is down, your commercial paver should check its surface for any signs of weakness. This step is essential to the overall stability of your new surface. If any weak points get overlooked, instability will begin to show over time. 

Base Coat Application

Once the sub-base passes your paving company’s inspection, a base coat layer of aggregate and asphalt will bind it all together. This process helps to create a strong support layer that must bear the weight of traffic on your new driveway or parking lot. 

Pouring the Asphalt 

To pour asphalt, pavers need it to be pliable, so they heat it to an extremely high temperature before laying it out. Because this material is made from a mix of sand and stone with a petroleum-like substance added, workers will use a machine called a paver to level it out and a roller to compact it. 

All of these steps must occur before the asphalt cools down and hardens.  

Transitional Elements

Pavement installations involve more than laying down a new surface. Many transitional elements, such as curbs and asphalt joints, must be connected to your new surface. These connections must be created as smoothly as possible to avoid interruption of the surface. If any repairs are necessary for these features, they will be made at this time.

The Top Coat

The final phase of your pavement project will be adding a top coat to the surface of the asphalt. Surface coats act as an additional binder and provide that smooth glide you may notice while driving on a newly laid roadway. A roller will further compact and even out this last layer to address any loose aggregate or unwanted rises. 

Waiting for the Surface to Cure

The longest stage of paving is waiting for the surface to completely harden. This can take a month, but lucky for you, the surface will be solid enough to withstand traffic after several days. Just be sure that every effort is made to avoid gouging, warping, or scuffing your newly paved surface. 

Adding Markups

The last step of your paving project should be the addition of any needed stripes or other markups to the surface. For example, if you had a parking lot installed, the paving company would ensure spots are marked, including those requiring specific accessibility symbols specified by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a clearer understanding of the asphalt process, you probably have a new appreciation for how important it is to have your pavement installed right the first time. 

Take time to interview and receive quotes from several commercial paving companies before making any decisions. Be bold about asking for referrals and verify they are properly licensed and insured to perform the job safely and correctly. These simple steps will ensure your project is a hassle-free experience that provides you with the expected results. 

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