Frequently Asked Questions
W.R. Walton Contracting is committed to bringing you many years of satisfaction with your asphalt driveway. The finest care has been taken in the prepration and installation, but your care is essential to keeping your driveway in its best condition. We have assembled this informative guide to help you understand how asphalt is manufactured and the best way to care for it.
Determination of Product
Asphalt is a manmade product consisting of oil, liquid asphalt, sand and stone. There are different types of asphalt. The size of the stone determines the type and use. The larger the stone, the stronger the asphalt.
There are two types of binder asphalt. Road binder contains 3/4” stone and is used as the initial layer on roads and parking lots. Baby binder contains 1/2” stone and is used as the intial layer on driveways, sidewalks and walkways.
There are two types of finish asphalt containing 3/8” stone. The top has slightly more stone and leaves a textured apperance. Rice top has slightly fewer stones and leaves a smoother appearance.
When purchased, asphalt is 400º F and takes many days to cool enough to drive on. Since asphalt is an oil based product, the oils must rise to the surface and evaporate before the asphalt reaches maximum strength. Usually 4-6 months is adequate. Being a manmade product, no two truck loads are exactly alike. One might contain slightly more oil or sand or stone than the next.
Since asphalt is a dark, heated product, the sun can reheat and soften the surface. On a sunny day with 85º F air temperature the asphalt surface can reach 130º F, making it susceptible to scuff marks and tire prints if not treated with maximum care. This has nothing to do with the installation and is totally beyond the contractor’s control. It is the nature of the product’s reaction to heat determined by the manufacturer’s blend of ingredients.
A correctly installed driveway should not settle or crack. Adequate gravel depth, properly compacted, provides a solid base. 2” of binder asphalt for strength followed by 2” of finish asphalt should produce a stable driveway lasting 15 to 20 years.
Beating the Elements
Asphalt is not concrete. It cannot withstand heavy equipment, cars and campers parked in one spot for prolonged periods of time. It can easily be dented by fallen tree branches, hand tools, bicycle kickstands, lawn furniture, and ladders. It can easily be scuffed by power steering, snow plows, or dragging heavy objects across it.
Asphalt has severe reactions to petroleum products, such as gas, oil and diesel fuel. These products will eat right through asphalt, totally disrupting the bond between ingredients.