What You Should Know When Paving Your Driveway

When the time comes to install a new driveway one of the biggest decision is whether to use concrete, asphalt or some other medium in your Ramsey home. However, choosing a surface that is best for you depends upon personal preferences, how much money you have to spend and where you live. Here is what you should know when paving your driveway:

Choosing a Medium

Many homeowners wonder about the virtues of asphalt and concrete over other materials such brick-style pavers. Asphalt and concrete are the most common and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the important points about each surface medium:

Ramsey, NJ Asphalt and Concrete DrivewaysConcrete is a Classic, Long-Lasting Choice

● Concrete driveways will typically last longer than asphalt, up to 30 years.

● Concrete requires less maintenance, only needing a pressure washing every few years.

● Concrete takes longer than asphalt to cure.

● Concrete driveways can suffer damage during freezing weather.

● Concrete cannot be readily resurfaced.

Choosing Asphalt Over Concrete

● An asphalt driveway can typically be used the same day it is installed.

● Asphalt stands up better to extreme fluctuations in temperature.

● Asphalt driveways are easy to patch.

● Asphalt lasts up to 20 years.

● Asphalt driveways need resealing every three years.

Asphalt and concrete driveways both must be installed over a properly prepared foundation. Some experts will argue that asphalt will hold up as well as concrete, if placed over a solid foundation.

Alternatives to Asphalt and Concrete

Blocks, known as “pavers,” are perhaps the most popular options to solid paving techniques. The blocks are made from different materials like concrete, clay and stone and come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors. For those who want an alternative option to asphalt and concrete, these blocks will make your driveway stand out and are a common choice for higher-end custom homes.

When properly installed, block-style driveways require very little in the way of maintenance, and unlike a solid paved driveway, are not prone to cracking and are about three times stronger than a concrete driveway. If one block does crack, it is a simple matter to replace a damaged brick without having to disturb the others. However, the stylish and low-maintenance bricks do come at a cost, and are more expensive, at least initially, than asphalt and concrete.

Brick-style driveways are laid over a base of sand and the blocks are set in place on top of the sand base. The bricks are then held together with polymeric sand, a blend of sand and binding agents, that becomes firm when mixed with water. Because the bricks are laid one at a time, by hand, block-style driveways take longer to install. A paver-style driveway typically costs three times as much per square foot as concrete to install, although prices often go higher depending on the style, color and material. However, because the blocks are so durable, and individual bricks can be replaced as needed, a paver driveway can sometimes be a more cost-effective alternative in the long run.

When to Pave Your Driveway

While construction crews are seen laying asphalt on roads, parking areas and driveways at all times of the year, there is unquestionably a right and wrong time of the year to have a new asphalt driveway installed.

The best temperature for laying asphalt is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. For most areas in the U.S. outside of the deep south that means sometime from the late spring to early summer or late summer to early fall. However, season dates can vary depending on your exact location. In the warmer southern states the temperature generally reaches the 70-degree mark earlier in the year and those in cooler regions may have to wait for mid summer. A hot-mix asphalt, which is heated before application, can be put down during somewhat cooler temperatures, but there is still be a limited time frame where the temperature must still be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.Ramsey, NJ Asphalt Milling

Concrete doesn’t “dry,” but cures through a chemical evaporation process. It is always best not to pour a concrete driveway during times of extreme temperatures of mid summer or the dead of winter. Both blazing heat and freezing cold will affect not only how fast concrete cures, but how well it cures.

Concrete contractors will commonly add an antifreeze solution to concrete when it is poured during very cold weather to keep it from freezing before the pour is completed. Once the pour is finished insulated blankets are placed over the wet concrete so it stays warm enough to properly cure. Concrete requires approximately 30 days to completely cure, however, about 95 percent of the curing process is completed in two weeks, so an experienced contractor will leave the blankets in place for at least 14 days.

During the hot Ramsey summer months, high temperatures will speed evaporation from the surface and result in the concrete curing at different rates. Concrete manufacturers all recommend misting the concrete with water frequently to insure the surface does not dry out before the curing process has completed. However, many concrete contractors won’t both with misting, so be sure you address it with yours beforehand.

Due to these additionally steps required when pouring concrete during periods of extreme temperatures, and because many concrete contractors won’t perform some of the extra steps, it is best to have your new concrete driveway poured only during periods of moderate temperatures.

Laying pavers can be done at anytime of the year, except during winter in northern regions, when the ground is snow covered or frozen. However, in the deep south, such as Arizona and Florida that experience heavy monsoon-type rains in the spring and summer, the sand used to hold the blocks together can be compromised in a torrential rainstorm. In these areas it is better to wait until fall, or even winter.

For quality driveway paving services in Ramsey, NJ call McFarlane Asphalt at (201) 327-5258 .