The Asphalt Driveway

Asphalt is easily shaped, tough yet flexible, and often very cost effective to install. But the key to a durable asphalt driveway lies mainly in the foundation upon which it is built. The base soil beneath the driveway should be strong and firmly compacted before the next level, a gravel base, is installed. A minimum of four inches of gravel base is fine for most driveways. Residential driveways are typically constructed with three inches of asphalt that is then compacted to two and a half inches.

Sealing. Nine months to one year after the installation, the driveway will need its first sealing. Sealing will protect the driveway from the effects of oil, weather, and salt and slow down any cracking. To maintain the integrity of the driveway, it should be resealed every two to three years.

Asphalt appeal. The black color and texture of the typical asphalt surface can mask oil spills and other stains that may be more apparent on other types of surfaces. The dark color can also promote melting of snow or icy buildup on the driveway, a bonus for colder climates.