When shopping for a contractor to install a new driveway for your home, a few key questions must be asked and answered in order to ensure you; 1. Are receiving an accurate estimate? 2. Can compare different estimates (apples to apples)? 3. Will receive the final product you are expecting? 4. Are getting the best value for your investment?
The first and most important question is with regards to the BASE (the foundation of your driveway). Very similar to your house, if the foundation is inadequate your house will collapse. If your driveway’s base is inadequate your driveway will not survive it’s intended life span. The steps to install an adequate base include;
1. Remove the existing blacktop and ALL of the existing base. Some contractors attempt to use the existing base for the new driveway. This presents many potential problems including; inconsistent thickness, un-known thickness, low spots creating puddles and poor and/or incorrect pitch.
2. Excavate entire driveway to an minimum 8 inch depth. This will allow space for the proper base and the final blacktop layer as well as proper pitch away from house.
3. Install new RCA base with a minimum 6 inch thickness. Ensure consistent depth over the entire surface as well as the proper pitch away from the house. Roll the base to ensure required compaction and make adjustments as needed.
4. Let the base sit for a minimum of 2 weeks. Ride on the driveway with your car as much as possible.
5. Make adjustments to the base as required.
6. If a border or apron is part of the plan, install the blacktop border next to the new base and the apron next to the road.
Once the base is settled, install the new blacktop driveway with a minimum 2 inch thickness. Some contractors will propose 1 inch, 1 ½ inch or 2 inch. For durability, it is extremely important to achieve a 2 inch minimum. There is no need to seal the blacktop at this point in it’s lifecycle.