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Blacktop Driveways

If you are thinking about installing a blacktop driveway then you should compare that with other possible solutions before you make your choice. I learned this fact from talking to concrete and blacktop contractors when I was planning to resurface my gravel driveway and parking area with something that would withstand the constant abuse of rain. We sometimes receive close to 100 inches of rain a year and so as you can imagine mud is a big problem. We had lived with a gravel driveway for years and decided it was time to upgrade.
What I found out is that asphalt (or blacktop as it is also known) works great if the vehicles are not going to be turning very much. If they just drive on and off the blacktop surface then there is very little wear and tear. But this changes once the cars need to turn. When the weather starts to get warm the asphalt surface will start to get a little sticky. If a car is sitting still and the steering tires are turned, such as if you are turning around, then the tires can easily scuff off some of the asphalt surface. This not only looks bad but it can also cause a big mess. In this instance you are better off to use concrete because it won’t scuff. Also, if it is hot outside and you walk through one of these scuff areas you can pick up the material on your shoes and then if you track it into the house you will have a big mess.
Generally speaking the blacktop driveway cost is going to be cheaper than the cost of a concrete driveway but that may not always be the case. This is especially true if you factor in the cost to repair holes that are formed when steering tires are turned on the blacktop surface.
For the parking area a concrete slab is going to be better if the cars will be turning around in that spot. This was the situation I found myself in. I had a fairly large gravel parking area with a one tenth mile long driveway leaking up to it. So I opted to use concrete in the parking area which took care of the problem with the scuffing and then I had blacktop applied at a thickness of 2 inches for the driveway approach that led up to the concrete. This was done over ten years ago and I am still very happy with the results.
This was really a matter of finding out which material was better in which instance and then using the material that worked out best.
One problem I did have was the contractor tried to pour too large a concrete slab at one time with no expansion joints and this means I have a lot of cracks. I wouldn’t mind a few but the surface looks like an old man’s face. Be sure if you are having the job done that you specify a lot of expansion joints so you can control where any cracking occurs instead of the spider web problem I have.

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2 Comments for “Blacktop Driveways”

  1. Fantastic article. Being in the driveways business myself, it’s always great to read things from anothers perspective.

  2. Hi Peter, Thanks for stopping by my site. It is always great to here that people are getting some benefit from the information. What sort of driveways do you install? I would like to know more about what works for you in Bristol.

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