A new asphalt driveway can be a good alternative to concrete; asphalt is often cheaper and the darker color of the material may look better than the grey, drab color of concrete. Whatever your reasons for choosing asphalt, note a few questions you might ask about having the material installed in your home and then discuss these with a contractor if you still need more information.
1. Does asphalt always need regular sealing?
Sealing is done to keep moisture from seeping into the asphalt and causing cracks and other damage. However, your driveway may not need sealing if it's graded and sloped properly. Having a driveway that is graded as it should be or that is on a slope means that moisture shouldn't collect on the surface of the driveway and instead will simply drain away. If you want to avoid regular sealing of your home's new asphalt driveway, consider having it graded slightly before the installation begins.
2. Why does some older asphalt seem lighter than new asphalt?
If you're worried about the longevity of your asphalt driveway, note that the material can become lighter over time and the texture itself may also change. This is often very normal and is simply because of its exposure to sunlight, water, and the like. This change in texture or color doesn't mean that asphalt is becoming weaker. You can, however,ask your contractor for signs to look out for when it comes to the material breaking down and needing repairs or maintenance so you know how to keep your driveway in tiptop shape.
3. Can new asphalt be poured over old asphalt?
In many cases, you can actually pour new asphalt over an old asphalt driveway. However, this isn't always recommended, as older asphalt may be too cracked or otherwise degraded to support the new layer. If you're considering leaving the old layer of asphalt in order to save on the cost of having it pulled up, you might be warned that cracks in the old layer may cause premature cracks to form on the new, top layer; repairing these or having even more asphalt installed can then be more costly in the long run. A contractor can usually evaluate your older asphalt and then advise you on the lifespan of new asphalt if it's poured over that old layer. You would then need to make the decision about what is best for your home's driveway, either pulling up the old asphalt or leaving it under the new material.