Residential asphalt paving has long been the standard for driveways in neighborhoods across the country. Does the fact that we have used something for a long time mean it is the best option though?
What are the benefits of using asphalt on your family’s driveway? What factors should you consider before installing asphalt paving? Are there any alternatives?
It is essential to consider all of the factors and information before building a driveway that will be a distinguishing feature in your home’s legacy for the foreseeable future.
What is Residential Asphalt Paving?
Asphalt is one of the most commonly used materials for parking lots, driveways, highways, roads, and schoolyards.
Commonly referred to as “blacktop,” asphalt is a sticky substance derived from crude oil that is combined with sand, gravel, or other aggregates to create a durable surfacing material.
Residential asphalt paving is simply a blend of asphalt used for residential applications like driveways.
Types of Asphalt Paving
There are three basic types of asphalt; hot mix, warm mix, and cold mix. Each blend has its own unique strengths and weaknesses that are best suited for specific purposes.
Hot Mix Asphalt
Often referred to as HMA, hot mix asphalt is one of the most commonly used varieties of asphalt.
HMA is heated to and poured at temperatures between 300 and 350 degrees and is favored by paving professionals for its superior water resistance and durability.
Due to its tendency to cool rapidly, you should only use hot mix asphalt when air temperatures are consistently above forty degrees.
Warm Mix Asphalt
Warm mix asphalt is similar to hot mix, but is only heated to temperatures between 200 and 250 degrees. Although these lower temperatures decrease production costs, warm mix asphalt requires additional binding agents to be poured and spread at the lower temperatures.
Cold Mix Asphalt
As the name implies, cold mix asphalt does not require any heat; but it does make it substantially weaker than its heated counterparts.
Its ease of application and comparative weakness make cold mix asphalt a poor choice for large-scale projects, but an excellent choice for repairing potholes and other small-batch applications.
What Are the Benefits of Residential Asphalt Paving?
Compared to other common driveway materials like concrete, brick, and concrete pavers, asphalt costs much less to create a dependable, long-lasting driveway.
Ease of Installation
Concrete requires hours of building forms and laborious finish work, while brick, cobblestones, and pavers require tedious and painstaking installation. Asphalt application is much less labor-intensive than its counterparts, which saves time and money.
Due to asphalt’s ability to bend and flex above 40 degrees, residential asphalt paving can withstand significant subsurface movement, to create a durable driveway surface that can last up to twenty years.
Factors to Consider Before Starting a Residential Asphalt Paving Project
Although there is much to love regarding residential asphalt paving, it is essential to consider all the factors to ensure it is suitable for your family’s home.
Climate and Weather Conditions
Although it can sustain minimal movement in warmer temperatures, residential asphalt paving is still susceptible to cracking in colder climates.
If you live somewhere prone to bouts of below-freezing weather and frost heaving, your asphalt driveway could develop cracks and splits.
Legal Requirements and Permits
Many cities require a certain percentage of your property to be permeable, in order to allow vital stormwater and runoff to replenish groundwater supplies.
Asphalt is not porous and will not meet permeability requirements.
Although very durable, you must resurface residential asphalt paving at least every twenty years.
If you live in a below-freezing climate that is susceptible to frost heaving, you can expect your asphalt to split and crack, which requires annual maintenance.
Alternatives to Residential Asphalt Paving
Asphalt driveways are very common, but there are other viable options for a residential driveway. Concrete, brick, and permeable pavers can also provide excellent driveways for your home.
A centuries-old technology, concrete has been used to create beautiful and durable driveways worldwide.
Although concrete can be an excellent residential driveway material, it does have some notable drawbacks.
Concrete offers no flexibility and often cracks and fractures. Once broken, concrete is very difficult to repair in an aesthetically pleasing way, which frequently makes removal and replacement the only suitable solution.
Concrete driveways can be a labor-intensive product; from building forms to properly pouring and finishing the end product, the manpower and labor costs of concrete work can be staggering.
A brick driveway can add stunning, rustic charm to any home, but it’s not always practical or affordable.
Between meticulously leveling the subgrade and tediously hand-setting each brick, the labor costs of giving your home a brick driveway can be astounding.
Add in the price of bricks, and this style of driveway can quickly become unaffordable for any homeowner.
Permeable pavers are an incredible alternative to traditional residential asphalt paving.
Made of an interlocking plastic grid, you can easily install permeable pavers as a motivated homeowner or DIYer.
Able to be filled with either grass or gravel, permeable pavers protect delicate roots from being crushed under the weight of vehicles and hold gravel firmly in place to prevent ruts and spillage.
Unlike concrete and asphalt that break and crack with frost-heaving, permeable pavers are immune to cracks and damage caused by inclement weather.
Live in a city with a permeability ordinance? Permeable pavers are an easy way to create beautiful, long-lasting driveways that are 100% permeable. Many municipalities have tax incentives or rebate programs for replacing impermeable driveways with permeable pavement.
Craft Beautiful, Eco-Friendly Residential Driveways with TRUEGRID
Dedicated to creating environmentally friendly alternatives to asphalt and concrete, TRUEGRID has been manufacturing their innovative products, 100% made in the USA from 100% post-consumer recycled HDPE since 2013.
Offering a full line of products for every need, TRUEGRID has precisely what you need to build a beautiful and durable driveway, while also keeping millions of pounds of plastics out of our landfills and oceans.