A Concrete Way To Raise Your Home’s Profile

A Concrete Way To Raise Your Home’s Profile


Increasingly, homeowners looking for an inexpensive way to make their home more livable and increase curb appeal with an eye toward resale are embracing the nationwide trend of creating outdoor living spaces.

These areas usually feature spaces for entertaining friends and family while grilling, dining, eating and relaxing. That often means room for a patio, a grill, a sink or a fireplace. Some think of it as adding a family room without the roof.

For many, the building technique of choice when creating these spaces calls for using segmental concrete paving. This technique employs interlocking units-called concrete pavers-that are strong, durable and are growing in popularity worldwide. In Germany, for instance, there are 15 square feet of pavers installed per person annually. In the Netherlands, most of the streets and sidewalks are made of pavers.

Often used in walkways, patios, plazas and historic restoration projects, pavers are manufactured in a variety of shapes, textures and colors and can be easily removed and reinstalled.

One kind of home-improvement project where pavers are increasingly being used is a raised patio. These patios are known for their durability and can create a new sense of space in a yard, particularly when extended to meet an existing deck. Such spaces can be used as an outdoor entertainment area, complete with hot tub or barbeque pit.

There are a number of reasons why pavers have become popular in projects such as these:

• Their uniform size and quality allow them to fit tightly together for a strong, interlocking surface.

• Paver joints allow for a small amount of movement without cracking. That means they won’t crack like asphalt or poured-in-place concrete.

• Their design makes them easy to install and repair

• They’re available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and textures.

• And they can be installed by either a professional or a skilled do-it-yourselfer.

One of the newest styles offers the high-end look of stone for a more modest price. Called “tumbled” or “antiqued” pavers, they can be used to add a stately look to a walkway, patio or driveway.

How to Hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor

How to Hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor


Asphalt paved driveways are extremely popular and the most cost effective to install over most other driveway options.
Hiring the right asphalt paving contractor however can sometimes be a challenge. If the paving contractor installs the asphalt driveway correctly the driveway should last 25-30 years with only minor maintenance.

Unlike concrete, an asphalt paved driveway is both strong and flexible and is ideal for colder temperature zones where constant freezing and thawing occur.

Asphalt paving, also known as Hot Mix Asphalt paving, consists of an aggregate of stone and sand mixed with liquid asphalt cement. The aggregate is carefully mixed and heated prior to being mixed with liquid asphalt. The mixture needs to be delivered to the job site hot else your newly paved driveway will not cure properly.

In order to ensure a quality paved driveway it is critical that the paving contractor first properly prepare the driveway for the Hot Mix Asphalt. Preparation includes removing topsoil or clay type soil and replacing it with a sub-base layer of crushed stone and gravel.

A typical asphalt paving job consists of the application of two layers of Hot Mix Asphalt over the sub-base layer. In some cases a paving contractor may suggest a full-depth asphalt application. This type of application is best if very heavy vehicles will be regularly parked on the driveway. With a full-depth asphalt application the entire driveway, including the gravel sub-base layer, is constructed using liquid asphalt cement. By additionally binding the sub-base gravel layer with the liquid asphalt cement a much stronger paved driveway is created.

When hiring any contractor you should plan on getting 3-4 quotes to get the best comparison of workmanship and price. Talk with friends and family members, as well as search the yellow pages or the internet to find local paving contractors in your area.

With any contractor you hire, make sure they are insured and bonded to protect you from any liability as well as to protect you from any sub-par performance on the contractor’s behalf.

Lead times for paving a driveway can be up to several weeks, so plan appropriately when talking with your prospective paving contractors.

In order to obtain accurate quotes from the asphalt driveway paving contractors it is best to have a sketch of the home and the desired driveway footprint. You should also walk the site with the paving contractor and have him or you stake or paint lines where the paved driveway is to lay.

When talking to the prospective paving contractors make sure the subject of installing proper slopes and drainage is discussed. Otherwise you may wind up with water pooling on the finished driveway, or even worse, draining into your garage or home.

It is also critical that during the installation of all the various layers to the driveway that they are each compacted prior to the installation of the next layer of material. Quoted depths should be after compaction, not before.

Also, if there are any municipal pipes that need to be raised to the finished height of the driveway, find out if the paving contractors’ quotes include performing this task.

In addition, confirm that the contractor will remove and reinstall any type of gate or door to the new finished level of the paved driveway.

With these few basic tips you are on your way to hiring the right paving contractor for your driveway.

For more help on how to hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet. The Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your driveway is paved correctly and you get the finished driveway you are looking for. In addition, it will help to ensure that installation of your driveway will be accomplished on time and on budget.

Asphalt versus Concrete Driveways – Which is Best

Asphalt versus Concrete Driveways – Which is Best

Viaduct
Source: Flickr


Asphalt and concrete are the most popular types of material for paving driveways.
Asphalt driveways and concrete driveways both have their unique advantages. If you live in a cold climate and are considering a concrete driveway you need to make sure the base for the driveway is heavily laid with gravel and it is compacted first. Otherwise the driveway will run the risk of cracking due to frost heaves. In addition, concrete is susceptible to salt damage, a material frequently used on roads in cold weather parts of the country. On the other hand, if you live in a warm or hot climate and are considering asphalt paving, then you need to consider the fact that asphalt can become soft in the hot sun and is therefore susceptible to ruts.

Asphalt paved driveways are typically cheaper to install than concrete paved driveways. However, asphalt paved driveways need significant more care over time to protect them. Asphalt paved driveways need to be sealed at least once every 3-5 years. Each sealing, though easily completed by a do it yourself homeowner, costs money and time. In addition, the sealer needs typically 2-3 days to dry before you can park a vehicle on it. Also, a newly asphalt paved driveway should not be sealed for at least 6-9 months, as the light oils associated with the asphalt need to evaporate first. If an asphalt driveway is sealed too soon it will remain soft forever.

Asphalt driveways do not need to be always black and concrete driveways do not always need to be off-white. Both asphalt and concrete driveways can be tinted to various colors. Check with your prospective paving contractors first to see what color options there are for your driveway project.

Asphalt driveways, if maintained can typically last 25-30 years. Concrete driveways can last even longer. However, both require a solid foundation to be laid on. If not laid on a solid foundation both will crack over time, especially in colder weather climates. Asphalt cracks are easier to repair than concrete driveway cracks.

Consideration for the slope of the driveway should also be considered when contemplating concrete driveways. Over time, concrete driveways can shear off of the foundation they are poured on which can lead to unwanted cracks.

If you are planning a new asphalt driveway and need help on how to hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet. The Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your driveway is paved correctly and you get the finished driveway you are looking for. In addition, it will help to ensure that the installation of your driveway will be accomplished on time and on budget!