Some Questions to Ask an Asphalt Paving Contractor Before Work Begins

Asphalt is a very popular material that is used for home driveways and walkways, since it holds up well in all sorts of weather conditions and is easy for a homeowner to patch and repair when those fixes are needed. If you've hired an asphalt paving contractor or are still calling around for estimates and quotes, note a few questions you want to ask him or her before work begins. This will ensure you know what to expect and the work goes as planned.

1. Ask if a prime coat is recommended

A prime coat, like primer for paint, is applied to a surface when it needs to be hardened and toughened enough to accept a coat of asphalt. Asphalt is often appreciated because of how flexible it is, making it less likely to crack over time than concrete, but this also means it may be too soft for some surfaces. A prime coat can be put down to toughen up soft soil and make it ready for asphalt, but this will depend on the amount of asphalt you have applied and its thickness as well as the soil conditions. Some road failures have been attributed to a lack of prime coat, so ask if it might be necessary for your home's driveway area and if it can be a good idea to have it put down in order to protect the asphalt from cracking or sinking over time.

2. Ask if you can have recycled material added to your asphalt

Asphalt can be recycled if older pieces are heated and softened; they then become mixed in with the new asphalt. In some cases, old tires can also be shredded and added to the asphalt mix since they too are made of a similar oil-based material. 

A contractor may even be able to do this if you currently have an asphalt driveway; they might be able to tear up the old pieces and add them to the mix with your new pieces so you don't need to worry about having them wind up in a landfill or otherwise wasted. Using old tires might also add to the noise insulation features of asphalt, as the rubber material may absorb more sound and make the outside of your home quieter overall. This also keeps the solid waste of old tires out of landfills. Discuss this option with your contractor before they decide on the asphalt they will use for your home.