a Driveway or
Some Practical Tips
1. DESIGN BY DIMENSION
Keep in mind the dimensions of commonly used paving equipment. Most paving machines have a
normal placement width of 8 to 12 feet. The machines work best when paving in straight
lines and when making square corners. Laying out a driveway with circular shapes and
varying widths requires a combination of machine and hand-applied paving materials, which
will create the possibility for an uneven surface texture and poor joint match-up. In
addition, the roller compaction of machine versus hand-applied material will not be equal.
This could cause noticeable variances in the surface. For a single lane, the best results
are achieved with a width between 8 and 12 feet, and a combination of 8 to 10 foot widths
for larger areas. This is your best guarantee for a more attractive appearance and tight,
longer-lasting pavement joints.
2. PROPER PREPARATION
The last procedure performed by the excavator on your job site should be the digging out
of the driveway/parking area, and grading in a quality crushed stone base. Your paved
driveway needs frost protection to prevent cracking and heaving, just like the basement
walls of your home. Therefore, a dry, crushed stone base should be placed beneath the
bituminous paving material. The type and size of the crushed stone will vary, depending on
soil type, presence of water, natural drainage, etc. How should you proceed? The best next
step is to have your site inspected by an experienced paving contractor before you place
the crushed stone, while the excavation equipment is still on site. The excavation of the
pavement area should extend the width of the stone base 6" wider on each side of the
roadway, beyond the planned pavement width. This will protect the edges of the pavement
during construction. Be sure to keep the finished grade of the stone base 3 to 3 1/2
inches below the desired finish grade of the pavement. Proper base placement will save you
money at a later time, and more than likely require only 'touching up' by a paving
contractor when you are ready for final paving.
3. PAVEMENT DEPTH
The thickness of pavement required for a quality job will vary depending on the
depth of the crushed stone base, the strength of the sub-surface and the traffic load. The
best way to determine depth is to conduct an on-site inspection and discussion with an
experienced contractor. You can work out the best combination for your budget, usage, etc.
Remember, the strength of bituminous concrete increases with the size of the stone used in
the mix. For example: a 2" application of bituminous base material, overlaid with 1
1/2" of wearing material, all on top of a base of 4" to 6" of crushed
stone, will provide 15 to 20 years of maintenance-free service under normal driveway use.
Do it right the first time.
4. BITUMINOUS VS PORTLAND CEMENT
Why choose bituminous? Because it is designed for both flexibility and strength, is much
easier to repair when damaged, is less expensive to install and, with proper care and
maintenance, will last as long as Portland cement.
5. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Placing Portland cement concrete with hand trowels, working along a string line, is
completely different than placing bituminous concrete at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, with a
mechanical paver and heavy roller. Whenever a flexible material is applied with very large
equipment, every square yard of pavement will not always be identical in appearance.
Pavement surfaces compress at different rates, and may leave some minor roller grooves. If
some areas are hand applied, and others machine applied, there will be variances in
surface texture. It is important to remember that none of these imperfections have any
effect on the life of the pavement, and generally disappear after a few months of use. The
same flexibility that prevents bituminous pavement from cracking over the winter months
causes difficulty in applying without some surface irregularities. A timely application of
driveway sealer will smooth over most imperfections and provide a 'like new' appearance to
any pavement surface.
6. DRIVEWAY SEALER
Wait at least 2 to 3 months to apply sealer to your new driveway. The paving material
needs that time to cure completely. The main function of sealer is to protect the pavement
from damage caused by oil or gas leaking from vehicles. These fluids can cause the asphalt
to separate from the aggregate, creating potential problems. When sealing your own
driveway, it is vital to use only materials that are manufactured from a coal tar base.
Look for this information on the container. Beware the 'drive-up and spray' people who
will attempt to sell you a bill of goods. Not all spray materials are the same and poor
quality materials produce poor results. The best contractors will be happy to provide you
with multiple references. Your best protection against a low-quality job is choosing the
Meckley's Limestone Products insists on quality specifications, or we won't do the job. We
correct any errors that affect the longevity of the driveway - at our expense. Remember,
your greatest guarantee of longtime service is proper installation. We will supply you
with PennDot approved materials, application with the most up to date equipment and
techniques, and an extremely qualified and experienced workforce. While we cannot promise
perfection, we do guarantee our best effort and your ultimate satisfaction.