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Frequently Asked Questions

An asphalt driveway can last 20–40 years, depending on daily use, weather exposure, and installation quality. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan to 40–50 years.

This is generally a function of the amount of direct sunlight and traffic that an area gets. We typically do not recommend seal coating for at least 4-5 years. The surface then should not need sealcoating more than every three or four years. Once a driveway has been sealcoated too many times, it becomes very smooth and slick when it rains.

You should be able to drive on the surface after 2–3 days, but you should wait at least a week before parking your vehicle.

As a frame of reference, good drainage requires a minimum of 2% ‘fall’ for water to run off properly. In plain English this means that the grade (angle) of the driveway should have a ¼” decline for each foot of pavement… i.e. a 10 foot wide section of asphalt should decline 2 ½” to have the water run off properly. Many driveways do not have this amount of grade and water ponds accordingly. There are a variety of solutions to this including drains, swales and curbs. In areas with less than 2% fall, ponding water is to be expected.

Tire scuffmarks are caused when you turn your car’s steering wheel while the car is stationary. If it is a hot day and the asphalt has not completely cured, the surface will get a blemish like grinding your heel into a soft substance. Over time, most of this will become less noticeable.

Asphalt is a flexible material that is activated by the heat. You should be conscience to be moving while you turn, and avoid 3point turns on the hot asphalt in warm weather

The main difference is that resurfacing/ rehabilitation is a structural repair that will extend the useful life of your asphalt surface. It entails the patching (if necessary) and resurfacing of the entire surface with a new overlay of 1 ½” to 3″ of hot bituminous asphalt. Sealcoating is not a structural repair and may be likened to painting your house. The sealcoat protects and extends the life of your asphalt, but does nothing to correct structural flaws. Sealcoating, accordingly, is substantially less expensive than resurfacing your drive.

Essentially all asphalt is black. When the aggregates (stone) are mixed together with hot asphalt cement, the mass of material becomes black. Over time, as the asphalt oxidizes, the coating on the aggregates breaks down and the color of the aggregate starts to show through. This can lead to a ‘grayish’ color if the asphalt plant uses a light color aggregate.

Your new asphalt surface can take more than 30 days to cure depending on temperature variations from night to day. In general, however, you should be able to drive on the surface after two to three days but we generally recommend waiting a week before parking a vehicle.

The edges or ‘shoulders’ of your drive are one of the most vulnerable areas of the drive. If you put a lot of weight on the edge (say by driving your car or lawn mower right to the edge), there is the possibility that the edge will crack or break off if it is not properly supported. We try to help the situation by creating a ‘beveled edge’ on the side of the drive with a 45° angle to defuse the pressure. You can help by installing seeded topsoil against the finished height of the asphalt once the job is completed.

Asphalt paving is typically installed with an asphalt paver that lays down an even thickness of asphalt. That application is called a “lift,” by pavers. Ranging from 2 ½” to 3″ thick, each lift is compacted after application by a heavy roller compactor. For heavily-traveled roads, which must bear the constant weight of hundreds of vehicles, including heavy trucks passing over it at high speed, paving is usually applied in two “lifts” of 2 ½”.

After paving, the two layers are compacted to a thickness of 4″ to form the final thickness. Busy parking lots, like the ones at supermarkets and big box stores are paved in the same way, with two “lifts.”

Residential driveways, on the other hand, are used only by small numbers of vehicles, traveling at slow speeds. Typically, DaCosta Paving paves residential driveways with one lift of paving, 3″ thick. That is then compacted to 2 ½” thickness. That, combined with the carefully compacted sub-base, is the ideal thickness to provide maximum life and endurance for a residential driveway. If asphalt is applied too thickly, it won’t be properly compacted, and over time, that can lead to depressions where traffic is frequent.

This staining is caused by the water used to prevent the roller from sticking to the new surface and will generally disappear after just a few days and does not effect the performance of the surface

Our Process


Planning the Project

Planning is an often overlooked step that sets up your project for success. But you shouldn’t rush this step if you want something that lasts.

Planning looks different for each paving project as their needs vary. The project may require approval from city or county planning offices. A project involving an overlay must be assessed to determine if the old material will stand up to the overlay. Or a lot that currently experiences drainage issues may need work both before and during paving to resolve these issues.


Excavation and Preparation

This is one of the most crucial and yet often one of the most rushed steps. Depending on the condition of the existing driveway, your ground may need some excavation or site prep. Often, an old surface of concrete or decaying asphalt driveway must be removed completely. We take our time and sift through the existing sub base searching for any poor soil conditions, large rocks, tree roots, etc.

If working on a piece of virgin land, you’ll need to completely clear it so that no uneven elements affect the asphalt’s flat surface. The ground underneath may need to be compacted and made stable.

One key part of laying a lot that will last for years is to have the right grading and drainage. Rainwater that pools and puddles either on top of or underneath the asphalt causes road hazards and accelerates cracking and crumbling that will eventually ruin the asphalt.


Laying a Sub Base

The sub base upon which the asphalt is installed must provide a solid, stable foundation in the face of erosion, usage, and weather. A sufficient sub base for a residential lot may simply be properly cleared soil with anywhere from 3-6” of aggregate stone on top. This prevents further settling and shifting.

In the case of an overlay, of course, the sub base is the old asphalt driveway underneath which must be able to support the new.


Pouring the Asphalt

Asphalt is an aggregate made of sand and stone that is mixed with the tar-like substance we know as asphalt. It is heated to a high temperature to keep the mixture pliable so it can be laid out, graded, and leveled before it cools and hardens. The process can be dangerous, so it should only be undertaken by professionals.

The actual laying of the asphalt may be one of the fastest parts of the whole process. It could take as little as an hour for a small project. The contractor will use heavy equipment to lay down the hot mix and provide the leveling and compacting it needs to create a finished look.


Final Hardening

The final stage of installation is to wait while the lot or driveway fully hardens. Initially, you should be able to walk or even drive on the surface – carefully – in as little as a few days. But thorough hardening will often take 30 days or more, during which you would need to be cautious about any use and avoid scuffs.