How to Asphalt Driveway in Alberta

Become A Quick Paving Expert

Everything You Need To Know To Make a Sound Decision

One of the most frustrating things for homeowners, is needing something fixed or replaced, but not really knowing much about that industry ... and not knowing where to start or what questions to ask. The best way to eliminate those frustrations is to learn as much about the service or product as you can.

This quick guideline was created for homeowners who would like to learn specific details on replacing an asphalt driveway Feel free to print this information and use it as a guide.

Exactly what is hot mix asphalt?

It is an engineered mixture of stones, sand, and a petroleum product called liquid asphalt cement. Varying sizes of this stone and sand mixture called aggregate are heated and then mixed in exact proportions with liquid asphalt cement that is heated to 300 degrees.

While the mixture is hot, it is delivered to your driveway and paved on top of the prepared sub-base. This asphalt mix hardens quickly and usually can be walked on within one-hour. Although, depending on weather you should wait at least 3 days to drive on it .

The 6 real benefits of asphalt

Hot mix asphalt hast 6 benefits to consider when choosing your driveway. They are ...

  1. It is very strong and durable.
  2. It is engineered to withstand freezing and thawing (Alberta weather).
  3. It is unaffected by salt – No problem salting your driveway in the winter!
  4. Unlike concrete, hot mix asphalt is designed to flex and give with slight settlement, or frost heaves we experience in Alberta.
  5. It is the most cost effective driveway material.
  6. A black asphalt driveway will melt ice and snow from the sun.

Can I simply put a new layer of asphalt over my old one?

In some cases it is possible to overlay an existing asphalt driveway with another “layer” of asphalt. This saves money on removing the existing driveway and doing the base work. A couple of important things to consider:

  • Anywhere there are existing cracks or where the asphalt is broken up will "reflect" through the new layer.
  • Drainage needs to be considered. Think about adding a 1.5 inch layer of asphalt on top of the existing driveway, unless your driveway has sunk in front of the garage or street, the new layer will be higher and present drainage problems. This can be addressed with milling or cutting out the top and bottom of the driveway.

So the bottom line is, in some instances an overlay will work. The key is to have a professional estimator that you trust come out and discuss the pros and cons and the qualification of your driveway for an overlay.

Asphalt Driveway Maintenance and Care

The following are some maintenance and care items to assist you in keeping your driveway in good shape for years to come.

Protect the edges

Due to the lack of side support, the edges are the weakest part of your driveway. Avoid driving on the edges since they'll crack and crumble over time. We suggest building up the sides of your driveway with topsoil to approximately one inch from the top of the driveway to allow room for sod growth and water drainage. This will support the edges and enhance the appearance after grass is grown.

Why is it smoother in some areas?

Your driveway may look smoother in some areas than in others because of the makeup of asphalt. Asphalt has various sizes of stone, sand liquid asphalt, and other ingredients which cause a varied texture of the surface. Also, driveway areas that have been raked and spread with hand tools may appear different in texture from those spread by machine.

Why do driveways crack?

The bad news is that asphalt will crack in Alberta. The good new is that it is easy to maintain.

There are many reasons driveways crack. The most obvious is the freeze and thaw cycle that exists in Alberta. Moisture from run-off of rain and sprinklers soaks in to the ground and freezes in the winter. When the moisture freezes, it expands. As the ice expands it pushes up and through the base and asphalt.

When the earth moves there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. That is why roads, foundations and driveway crack - regardless if it is concrete or asphalt! The cracks should be filled each year by a qualified contractor. In either case, it is important to use a high quality product, one that expands as the crack grows and shrinks throughout the year. The best product to use for asphalt is one that needs to be melted and poured into the cracks, and should have a high rubber content for elasticity and longevity.

Other reasons for cracking are tree roots or other plants too close to the driveway. The roots cause the asphalt to heave and crack. At this point, it must be determined by you what is most important, the plant or tree, or the driveway. If it's a nice tree, you will need to live with the cracking, if it's a plant you can transplant or live without, then remove the plant.

Why do weeds and grass grow through my driveway?

Vegetation, such as weeds and grass are able to push through asphalt. In most cases you can use a spot killer to remedy the situation. Sometimes, large plants or trees located near the edge of the driveway will push through. You will probably want to remove the plant for a long term solution. If a tree root pushes through, assuming you want to keep the tree, the only remedy is to fill the cracks every year.

Is seal coating just for looks, or does it serve a purpose?

To preserve the life and appearance of your driveway, it is advisable to seal it every three years. Seal coating your driveway helps slow down the oxidation process caused by the sun, which helps lock in the existing oils to keep the asphalt flexible. Additionally, seal coating your driveway protects it against harmful gasoline spills when filling your lawn mower, oil leaks, etc. It is important to use a quality seal coat. We Offer Excellent seal coating services

Have Questions? Call us and talk to a live person

Call us directly at: (587) 337-9111

You'll get a live, experienced member of our asphalt driveway team to answer your questions. If we happen to be servicing a client at the time, just leave us a message and we will get back to you quickly.

Request an Estimate

Request a FREE no obligation professional estimate and consultation Asphalt Driveway Estimate