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Asphalt/Chip Seal Driveway Q&A

Q:  How often should I seal my driveway or parking lot?

A: It is usually recommended to seal you driveway approximately 3 years after it is paved, and every three to five years thereafter.  Evans Construction does not do seal coating or crack sealing, but there are companies out there who can service you when the need arises.

 

Q:  What is a Chip Seal?

A:  Chip seals are generally intended for highways and subdivision roads, and not really for driveways, but Evans Construction has and will chip seal driveways upon request.  Chip seals consist of sweeping all areas to receive the application clear of debris, applying CRS2-P oil on said areas by means of a distributor truck, then applying 3/8″ or 1/2″ chips over the oil application.  A pneumatic / rubber tired roller then follows behind to compact or seat the chips into the oil.  The oil is left to cure over night if not for a few days, and the excess chips are swept off to the side of the road.  In some cases where a subdivision may not want a bunch of chips in the homeowner’s yards, they have the option of Evans sweeping up the excess chips with a pick-up broom like a street sweeper and hauling the chips away.  Generally chip seals are applied over an already paved surface, but there is another option for gravel roads which is a little less expensive than paving; this is called a double inverted ship seal.  This is not as durable as paving the road with asphalt, and is essentially a double application of oil and chips.  It is important to note that in this area (Jackson) there is a very small window in which chip seals can be done due to day and night time temperatures.  It is important to adhere to temperature specs so the oil will actually cure and the chips adhere.  That window is from the middle of July to at best the end of August; the temps must be 60 degrees and rising during the day and cannot drop below 40 degrees at night.  Nothing can or will be warranted after September 1st.

 

Q:  Should I pave or chip seal my driveway?

A:  Certainly paving your driveway is the most durable option, but it is a little less expensive to do a double inverted chip seal in lieu of paving.  A double inverted chip seal has some draw backs as it is not as smooth and on driveways usually needs to be done by hand.  There are some circumstances which a double inverted chip seal can be more expensive than a traditional 2″ asphalt mat, but pricing is based on many factors.  Chip seals as stated earlier are not as durable, and sharp turning motions can tear through it in fairly short order, especially in the warmer months.  One thing that should be avoided is to sit still and turn your wheels in one spot on a chip seal as the wheels will act like a drill over time and go through to the gravel below.  The only way to repair a chip seal is an asphalt patch which can be considered unsightly.  If one truly wants the gravel look, but desires quality and durability it is recommended to pave the driveway with a 2″ thick asphalt mat and then come back through later in the summer or the following year and install a single inverted chip seal over the asphalt.

 

Q:  How often should I re-do my chip seal?

A:  It is usually recommended to re-apply every seven to ten years depending on traffic loads and turning motions.  Corners and hills usually take the bulk of the damage over the life of the chip seal.  On Driveways it is where you stop and turn your wheels to change direction.  It is recommended that when you turn your wheels you should always be moving a little and not stay static.

 

Q:  How do I know that I am getting what I pay for?

A:  This is certainly one of the best and most important questions that can be asked.  There are a number of choices out there as to who can pave a driveway for you.  If all you are concerned about is making your driveway black and do not care about the quality or longevity of the installation, you have more choices.  If quality and longevity is a concern, you have less choices.  As for the final product, you may be able to tell just by looking at the edges and seams, as this are where most  defects will show, especially when the mix is colder.  This is more of a paying attention to detail, which takes time, and time is money.  The one thing that is most important to keep in mind is that asphalt is a perishable product and must go down as hot as possible in order to achieve proper compactions.  The longer the haul is to get the mix to your site, the colder it is going to be when it gets there.  Our competitors will haul mix from Driggs, some from Idaho Falls, and some from Soda Springs.  This is a long way to haul something that needs to be put in place the sooner the better.  This is where you shouldn’t even need a trained eye to see if the mix went in cold or not.  If the surface is not dense or packed tightly, you can rest assured that the mix did not meet the proper compaction or density.  Some companies have been known to say that they will provide you with a 2″ thick mat, but they put it in un-compacted at 2″ and it will compact down to about an 1 1/2″ or so.  This is an obvious way to cut material, thus cutting cost and not giving you what you pay for.  You must insist on having a final minimum compacted thickness of 2″.  In order to achieve an in place compacted thickness of 2″, the mix must initially be laid to approximately a 3″ thickness.  The unfortunate thing is that there are individuals out there that will say what it takes to get your business, and never intend to  follow through with what they say or put in writing. The best way around it is to avoid doing business with someone who says we have mix left over from another job, or someone who does not have an established presence in the area.

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