Questions to Ask Before Replacing Your Asphalt Driveway
Are you considering replacing your asphalt or concrete driveway? If you’re in Minneapolis or St. Paul, or any of the surrounding suburbs, you’ve experienced many Minnesota winters. They can easily cause many problems with an asphalt driveway. Maybe you have a cracked driveway, need extensive driveway repairs or just have a driveway that is 15-30 years old.
If, like many Twin Cities homeowners, you know you need a new driveway, but you’re not exactly sure where to start, you’re not alone. Having your asphalt driveway replaced or fixed is not an everyday occurrence. Most homeowners have never done it before. Even if you have replaced a driveway, building technology and techniques have changed and improved since then. Here are some questions to ask if you’re thinking about a driveway replacement:
- Do I need a new sub-base under my driveway? – If the current base is contaminated or of poor quality, then it may need to be completely dug out and replaced. If the existing base is strong, it can be used as a part of the new sub-base. The ultimate goal is to make sure a solid compacted base is created before the asphalt is laid over the top. At Richfield Blacktop, we have a three-tier system of driveway installation. Which is right for you depends on the soil type at your location, the condition of the existing sub-base, and other factors. We’ll explain your conditions and make recommendations. You make the final choice.
- What happens to my existing driveway? – To remove your existing asphalt or concrete driveway, we’ll use a skid loader or track loader to remove the driveway and put the debris in dump trucks. Sometimes a jackhammer is needed to get started on a concrete driveway. The old material is hauled to a recycling center, where it is processed for further use.
- Can I simply put a new layer of asphalt over the old one? – In a small percentage of situations, installing what is called an “overlay” over your existing asphalt can be done. Keep in mind, though that anywhere there are cracks or the asphalt is broken, the cracks will reappear through the new layer. This is called reflective cracking. In most cases, fresh, new paving is highly recommended.
- Will there be any hidden costs not on the driveway cost estimate? – A reputable company, like Richfield Blacktop, will provide a very accurate estimate for your project. You should expect the estimate to be correct and should not expect any major changes in the total cost. Not all contractors are accurate in their estimates, however, and some may not include all costs in their initial estimate. Richfield Blacktop is extremely careful to include all factors in their original estimate. If conditions are discovered after work begins, or if you make changes after the pricing estimate is made, some adjustments may be needed, but we always discuss these with you immediately. In most cases, our initial estimate will be what you will pay for your driveway. We don’t like surprises any more than you do.
- How long will the job take – start to finish? – From the time you sign the agreement to the completion of your driveway can be anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. A typical timeframe is 3 weeks. Depending upon the size of the driveway and condition of the sub-grade, the base work will typically take half of a day. The actual paving, on a 1000 square foot driveway, will be done in 2-4 hours. Obviously, larger driveways take more time. The time between the base work and paving is anywhere from 1 day to 3 weeks depending upon the weather, schedule, location and the condition of the sub-base. We’ll discuss the timing of your specific project in detail with you.
- How durable will the new driveway be and is there any type of guarantee? – How long the driveway will last depends on several factors. Typically, with proper maintenance an asphalt driveway should last between 15 – 30 years. Factors like sun, harsh winters, sub-grade conditions, and usage all take a toll on the life of your driveway. Although asphalt is strong and durable, it is also somewhat yielding. It will move and flex slightly with seasonal freezing and thawing, and it can sometimes be scarred by heavy weight or sharp objects. At Richfield Blacktop, we offer warranties on our driveways. These vary in length, depending on several factors, including which of the three-tier driveway installation type you choose.
- How soon can I use my new driveway? – Asphalt needs time to harden and cure. Your driveway will usually be fully cured within 3-6 months; until then it will remain somewhat pliable and soft. We recommend keeping automobiles off for at least 7 days, and longer in hot weather. Even when cured, asphalt can sometimes soften in extremely hot weather and harden as temperatures fall. See our page on Driveway Care & Maintenance for more information.
Richfield Blacktop – Expertise, Quality, and Service in Driveways
At Richfield Blacktop, the key to our legendary reputation over the past 50+ years is our relationship with our customers. We provide accurate estimates, use our expertise to choose the appropriate driveway for each situation, and then build high quality into every project. At all times, service to our customers is our highest goal. We know that our reputation depends on every job we do, and that keeps us doing our best. Contact us today for a free consultation and estimate for your paving project. Compare our record of service to any paving contractor in the Twin Cities. Our promise to you is a great driveway at a great price – every time.