7 Common Mistakes to Avoid In Reno Asphalt Paving

Asphalt is the most popular paving material in the United States. According to estimates published on the CNBC website, at least 94% of all roads in the U.S. were asphalt-paved as at 2023.  

Asphalt’s overwhelming popularity is largely due to its affordability. The material is recyclable, making it cost-efficient for both manufacturers and users.  

Other key factors that make asphalt the go-to paving material include its ease of installation, low maintenance, and high durability.  

But rookie mistakes aren’t unheard of despite asphalt being reasonably easy to apply.  

If you reside or work in Reno and want to install asphalt paving on your patio or driveway, this article is for you. We’ll highlight the seven most common asphalt paving mistakes to avoid.  

  1. Not Working With the Experts

Let’s start with an asphalt paving mistake that most property owners are guilty of.  

Some people deliberately avoid hiring qualified asphalt contractors, citing exorbitant installation fees. Such homeowners only realize they committed a terrible mistake when their freshly installed pavements develop cracks rather too soon.  

Other property owners simply don’t invest time searching for qualified asphalt contractors. They’d rather settle for the next available guy for the job.  

However, whether you’re looking for asphalt paving Vancouver, Reno, or wherever, it’s imperative to insist on qualified technicians.  

Professional asphalt contractors have relevant experience and advanced tools for the job, ensuring the task is skillfully rendered.  

Qualified asphalt contractors also handle the relevant permits and inspections, the lack of which could pose significant challenges to the project’s progress.   

  1. Using Substandard Asphalt

Asphalt quality determines its durability. Perhaps your next question is – what does poor-quality asphalt look like?  

There are several ways to gauge asphalt’s quality. The quickest method is to conduct a careful visual examination of unused asphalt cement.  

Check if the cement easily coats and adheres to aggregate, indicating superior quality.  

Remember that asphalt cement is also black. The cement’s deep black tone distinguishes it from regular concrete cement, typically gray.  

Unfortunately, in most cases, you’ll only be able to recognize low-quality asphalt once the paving work is done. That’s yet another reason to work with professional asphalt technicians who can readily tell cheap asphalt from premium-quality ones. 

  1. Inadequate Base Preparation

A bit of excavation is paramount before installing new asphalt. The foundation depth will depend on the desired thickness of the asphalt layer.  

Generally, many contractors prefer excavating 6 – 8 inches of a base and 3 inches of asphalt. The base typically comprises compacted aggregate, gravel, and sand.  

Base preparation also relates to the length you expect the asphalt material to cover. Unless the pavement is over 100 meters, excavating the entire section at once is best.  

When excavating the base, press it down thoroughly, preferably using a road roller. This gives your asphalt pavement a solid foundation. 

  1. Improperly Compacting the Asphalt

If you paid attention in the previous point, you’ve probably gathered that asphalt compaction takes place in two phases.  

The first stage is right after laying the aggregate. This helps establish a firm foundation for the upper layer, which would also be compacted.  

Experts recommend compacting your asphalt pavement thoroughly using a road roller.  

Adequate compaction eliminates air pockets from freshly laid asphalt, ensuring the pavement dries uniformly.  

Compaction should also happen slowly and in several passes, beginning from lighter passes to heavier ones.  

  1. Using Incorrect Asphalt Mix

 To identify an incorrect asphalt mix, it’s best to understand the components of this paving material. Asphalt comprises asphalt cement or binder and a specific amount of aggregate. Commonly used aggregates include stone, sand, and gravel.  

Most asphalt products are 90 – 95% aggregates and only 5 – 10% binder. However, this ratio isn’t cast in stone. It can change depending primarily on a pavement’s intended usage.  

Professional asphalt contractors will be happy to advise on the ideal cement: aggregate ratio after considering every relevant factor. An asphalt mix that’s too heavy or too light on either material – binder or aggregate.  

  1. Ignoring Slope and Speed Control

Road rollers are designed with leveling control functions that affect the equipment’s efficacy. One such feature is slope control.  

Slope control ensures the pavement achieves a desired inclination throughout its length and breadth.  

This makes the path safe and comfortable to drive along. It also prevents the formation of depressions that could hold water and degrade your asphalt driveway.  

Speed is another factor that should remain constant throughout an asphalt paving process. Varying the speeds will disrupt the surface’s uniformity.  

  1. Not Sealing Asphalt

Asphalt degrades over time. That’s understandable, considering these surfaces are directly exposed to the elements.  

However, unsealed asphalt pavement degrades even faster. It’s worse if the driveway registers heavy traffic and the asphalt isn’t skillfully laid.  

So, after installing new asphalt on your property, an asphalt technician should pour a seal coat over the surface to cushion it from the elements’ fury.  

The seal is effective against several aspects of adverse weather, particularly water, oil, and ultraviolet (UV) rays.  

Experts recommend allowing for up to two months after installing new asphalt before applying the seal. 

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Wrap Up 

Many Reno property owners have made every mistake in the book when trying to get their homes or workplaces paved with asphalt. The surest way to avoid these costly errors is to enlist the services of a professional asphalt paving company. 

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