If you want your driveway to last for decades, then here are some things that you need to know. When getting estimates understand exactly what you are getting for your money. First is a good design. Why? Workability. Does the driveway do what it is intended to do? Getting your vehicle, RV, or boat to the parking area. Avoiding baking into traffic, turning around, parking. How wide should the driveway be? A good design is essential to the construction of your new driveway.

Second. Drainage. Where does the rainwater go? This is very important to the design of your driveway. Does it drain into the lawn or a special drain? It has to go somewhere. Is the driveway sloping enough to shed the rainwater appropriately? A 2% grade is the minimum, less then that and you will have problems.

Next is site work or prep work. Removal of sod, topsoil, trees, old driveway and roots. Once the site is prepared we can start to build. Do you need to build things like sleeves for sprinklers, dry wells and drain pipe for rain water, RV dumps, fresh water spicket, conduits for TV, electrical, gas or fiber optics? You need to think ahead to avoid having to dig up your new driveway, things like hot tubs, water features, gas BBQ's or a new shop. If you dig a hole or a ditch it will need to be compacted in 4 to 6 inch layers. Depending on what piece of equipment is being used for the compaction. Compaction is the key to the longevity of your new driveway. 99% of the time the failure of a driveway or road is due to the compaction or drainage. Water gets under the driveway, dirt settles and the driveway cracks and sinks. One of the worst spots most contractors miss is next to the house. Contractors wont compact the dirt next to the footing causing settling. Even worse than that is when you have a basement 8 to 10 feet of dirt not compacted. Solution... To do it right the dirt needs to be removed and put back in 4 to 6 inch compacted layers. A little trick I have had good luck with is to soak the area with water for 1 or 2 days, let dry for a day, and then compact with the proper equipment. It will settle at least 6 inches to a foot.

O.K. the driveway is designed. It is going to do its job just fine. The rainwater is going where you want, all utilities and future utilities have been installed. Everything is in and compacted properly.

Sub grade is a direct reflection of dirt to the finished surface just 6 to 10 inches lower. The grade is compacted with a roller and not a plate compacter.

Next 4 to 6 inches of crushed rock is installed. Why? The crushed rock strengthens the finished surface and decreases frost heaves. The crushed rock helps to give the driveway a uniform depth. There is a big difference in rock so here we go! There is drain rock, p gravel, pit run, 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch, 3/4 inch minus, 1/2 inch minus, 5/8 inch minus, driveway rock, rip rap and all kinds of boulders, rip rap in all sizes from large boulders to 2 inch and don't forget sand. WOW! How do you know what your driveway needs? Answer is 5/8 inch minus. Why? Example... There are no free rocks in 5/8 inch minus made with an impact crusher. How the crushed rock is made makes a big difference. Rock made with an impact crusher contains a perfect mix of perfect rocks. Rocks made without an impact crusher have imperfect rocks or free rocks in the mix. These free rocks act like marbles and are not stable. O.K. so now we know the difference in rocks. There is a mix of small to large rocks in a 5/8-inch minus design and yes our rocks meet these standards and are made with an impact crusher. This is very important. The same rock is also in your asphalt or concrete. O.K. so we have the right rock for the job. Next is time to lay the rock down. It will need to be watered and compacted into 4-inch layers. After the rock is all compacted dig a little test hole and measure it's depth. It should be very hard to dig and be an exact reflection of the asphalt to go on top.

O.K. Lets check.
1. Design
2. Utilities and future utilities are in
3. Ditches and holes are compacted in layers and sub grade is compacted
4. Rock is installed and compacted in layers

We are ready to pave! Typically the work done up to this point is completed by the grade crew. The paver crew pulls up.

One thing. You shouldn't pave if it is below 40 degrees or raining heavily. A slight sprinkle is all right. Lets say it is a nice day with no rain. The first thing that should be done is to spray for weeds. Typically the roller will placed in the garage so park your car down the street and leave the garage door open. When they pull the paver in make sure they don't mess up your crushed rock. The truck with the hot mix pulls in next. Touch the side of the box like you would touch a hot iron. If you can keep your hand on the truck for 10 seconds, (Nasa we have a problem). The mix should get delivered to your house at 250 degrees.

Things to watch for in a good paving job....
1. The asphalt is rolled right away.
2. There are no roller marks or gouges and should be very smooth when finished.
3. Depth of asphalt is 2 inches compacted 2.5 inches not compacted.
4. Edges trimmed and backfilled with crushed rock.
5. When the job is complete it should look like we were never there and your driveway just magically appeared.