Asphalt Paving Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh
A lot of people already have gravel. And when they do we ask how many inches they have down. On a typical driveway you need at least 6 inches of good road base. If that’s what they have, we grade the area, level it, and make sure all the water is drained. Then we pave it.
We grade driveways because we don’t want water standing on the asphalt, or to get underneath. Some customers want the water to go to a certain area, therefore we grade the driveway to satisfy them.
We do all the draining as well. We don’t install catch basins on driveways, but parking lots require proper drainage. They need a catch basin for water to drain out in different places.If the job requires it, we can install catch basins. But the majority of times when they call us to pave the parking lot, the catch basins are already there. That part of the construction has already been done. Some parking lots we only grade so that water drains off into the field. But on parking lots with a V-shape the water has nowhere to go. Then we have to install a catch basin for drainage.
If someone wants to add more parking area to a parking lot, and the area is grass, we excavate it. We get down to a hard sub-base, bring in the gravel, and base it ourselves.
If we base the driveway or parking lot ourselves, we feel more comfortable, because we know what is there. For a parking lot with big trucks we also know what type of rock to use. If a driveway is a grass area and they want it paved we will do the same thing; dig everything out to the hard sub-base.
Mostly in driveway work, a lot of people don’t really know how to do base work. The proper way to do it, is to dig everything out and get down to a hard sub-base first. Sometimes you hit a hard sub-base within 8 or 9 inches, sometimes you have to dig down 2 feet. It depends on the area. After you get to a hard sub-base, start off with a big rock like Breaker Run or Rip Rap. From there go with lime stone or Class 5 gravel. This is a smaller size rock which goes on top of the bigger rock. It has finer material for tighter packing of the base. That is what we pave over; lime stone rock or gravel.
In Green Bay, Oshkosh or Wisconsin Dells they have different names and different size rocks for their gravel. The main thing when paving a new area is to start out with a big rock and then put smaller gravel on top. That makes for a hard base and a smooth surface. To put smaller rock over top of the big rock locks everything in place. Then you have a good solid base to pave over. Without the proper base you can cut the life of your blacktop in half. We don’t do base work as a stand alone service. When the job requires it we do it. We will add everything up and get the whole job in one estimate.
We are not one of those companies who get half way through a job and then say that it is a little harder then we expected and demand more money. On some jobs however we will specify from the get-go that we don’t really know if we have to dig down eight inches or a foot. We just know that we have to dig down to a hard sub-base to do the job right. This is one of the factors to determine the price. We can give the customer a good estimate but in the end the price may be a little less or a little more. The price depends on how far we had to dig down and how much material we had to use. But for most jobs, especially on driveway work, once we give an estimate that’s it.
Binder and Top Coat
There are different materials and different grades of asphalt. Sometimes when we pave a parking lot we are required to put two layers down. The first layer is the base coat called binder. It is a big rock with little sand in it, a bigger aggregate. The second layer is the top coat, top matte, or finish matte. This coat has a lot more fine material in it. It has more sand and it lays out slick and smooth. It looks nicer. It is a different size rock.
Heavier Grade Blacktop
Some blacktop is made with a polymer. While doing the asphalt we have to work faster because it gets harder a lot faster. It is a heavier grade blacktop. Most of the time we use the same blacktop in driveways than we do in parking lots. Most of the time we don’t pave two layers for driveways. As long as the base is good, one layer of blacktop will hold 80.000 pounds, heavy enough to hold anything. It will hold a cement truck. Most of the time however driveways don’t have semis or oversize loads pulling in or turning around. On a typical driveway one layer is more than enough. As long as the base is good. If your base is bad you can put three layers of blacktop down and it won’t matter. The blacktop won’t last. It will start cracking within a year and get worse from there. Base is key to the life of blacktop.
Parking Lots and Driveways; Residential and Commercial
Many driveways and parking lots we do already have their own gravel. If so, we will grade it and then put down either one or two layers. As long as the rock quarry where we get our gravel from has big rock, we will start with the bigger rock always. Whether it is a driveway or parking lot. When we start fresh in putting gravel over dirt, we use big rock because it makes for a better job. Then we put on the top layer, the finish matte which is a finer material. Whenever we lay it through the paver it becomes smoother. If a job calls for two or more layers, the first layer is that binder or base coat. The rock is big and rough, especially for a lady, if she walks on high heels it is hard to walk on because the rocks are so big. There is nothing to smooth things out. The top layer or finish coat is a finer smoother material. We use that the same on parking lots and driveways; residential and commercial. And if for a residential job we only put down one layer we use the top coat on the base.
Reinstall or Overlay
Sometimes, on older driveways, we have to install the pavement all over again. We had to redo driveways that were 20 years old, and we had to redo driveways that were 40 years old. How long your blacktop lasts depends mostly on the base work. Sometimes we do an overlay over top of the old asphalt. But if the base underneath the blacktop is bad, I don’t recommend it. What I recommend is to take the old blacktop out and to address what is wrong with the base. Over the years, clay can come up through the gravel and make soft spots in the base. We dig those soft spots out and then do base again. On some jobs you can do overlays, on some you can’t. We have to look at how bad the blacktop is before we make that decision.
There is one product that can be applied as soon as we are done paving. It is a fog coat or fog seal. Fog seal is a thin material with a hardener in it. It gives a good head start to the driveway or parking lot asphalt. It cures as well as adds a little bit more oil to the blacktop. On some jobs we are asked to apply fog seal. If so, we either apply it that same day or one or two days after paving and rolling in the driveway or parking lot. Fog seal is not necessarily included. Some people choose to apply it and some don’t. Unless specified in the beginning of the contract, it is not included. Fog sealing is an extra service if the customer wants to take real good care right off the bat. It is the same as with buying a new car. They will try to sell you a sealant as soon as you leave the car dealership. Instead of waiting a year to put a seal coat on, the dealership will offer you a special commercial rate sealant. So that, as soon as you leave your brand new car will be protected.