The paving process is not as easy as most people think. If you’ve ever driven past a site where a new paving project is ongoing, you might think that the paving crew just pour material and then rolls it to finish the paving project.
However, the paving process has several steps involved before the project is complete. Whether the contractor is building a completely new pavement, road, or parking lot, or they are just reconstructing an old surface, there are strategic steps followed by asphalt contractors to ensure quality results.
The following are the steps of a paving process:
Removing the top surface
This is the first step in any asphalt paving process. The step involves removing the existing top surface, which can be asphalt, concrete, or normal soil. Typically, old asphalt is recycled, meaning it can be reused. In fact, 80% of all asphalt materials are recyclable, which makes these materials less hazardous, and environmentally friendly. Removing the existing top surface requires machinery like front loaders, graders, bobcats, and dump trucks.
Grading and sloping
When installing asphalt, it’s essential to make sure that the surface has good drainage. The grading and sloping process, thus, ensures that the surface has good water drainage. Water is the greatest enemy of any asphalt paved surface. Thus, a paving contractor must ensure that the pavement, parking lot, or driveway has proper drainage, otherwise, it will be prone to damage.
Preparing the sub base
Did you know that the sub base is the most essential part of any asphalt paved surface? Well, now you know! The sub-base provides a stable surface for the new pavement, parking lot, or driveway. Besides, it acts as a frost barrier, which helps in reducing the damages caused by winter, especially during the freezing and thawing process.
The most important steps during the preparation of the sub-base include checking the base thickness and stability, as well as compaction. Failing to compact the sub-base appropriately means that the asphalt or concrete surface installed on top of it will not be durable.
Installation of binder course
The binder course is installed after laying the sub-base, and ensuring that all the soft areas are repaired. Binder course comprises of aggregate mixed with oil, which makes it durable and strong. Most paving contractors say that the binder course is the strength or backbone of any paved surface.
Installation of new asphalt
This can only happen when all the supportive structures of the new surface have been installed. Asphalt helps in providing a clean and smooth surface. Typically, asphalt surfaces are made of a small aggregate, sand, and oil. When these materials are combines, they create the black surface that we see on asphalt paved areas. The proper installation of this material ensures that the finished surface is shiny and attractive, as well as smooth.
Checking the uniformity of the newly installed surface
According to the asphalt paving experts from ABC paving & sealcoating, it’s important to check the uniformity of the asphalt texture after spreading the first asphalt mix. Check for any signs of segregated materials—you shouldn’t continue with the paving project the moment you notice any segregation.
Also, the paving contractor should keep crown control in their mind. Surfaces with a crown should be redone again. Moreover, it’s essential to loosen the mix that hangs off the sides of the surface continuously and push it back into the hot mix. In case the asphalt becomes cold, it becomes a challenge to compact it properly, which can make it lose its structural integrity.
Smoothening of transitions and butt joints
It’s hard to install a new asphalt surface that doesn’t connect to old parking lots, roadways, or driveways. Thus, the paving contractor needs to smoothen the joints connecting the new surface to the old one.
Typically, butt joints are the areas where newly installed asphalt meets old concrete or asphalt. These areas need extra attention to make sure that water run-off and grading is appropriate. A professional contractor should ensure that both pedestrians and drivers don’t notice any difference in these surfaces.
This is the last, and most essential step of the paving process. If you don’t compact the surface properly, it won’t hold together, thus affecting its durability. There are different roller arrangements used to get better results. These arrangements include steel-tired classic, steel-tired, and vibratory static rollers, as well as vibratory rollers used in static and vibrating modes.
It’s important to follow the above steps during the paving process as they will ensure that the newly installed surface has a prolonged functionality and durability. Lastly, ensure that you start the paving process starts after proper inspection of the surface, as well as after getting a full estimate of the project.