Homeowners are justifiably finicky when it comes to their property, so appearance and neatness count when paving residential driveways. Unlike commercial work with long pulls and road work with even longer pulls, paving residential driveways requires patience, attention to detail, and awareness of surroundings. But just like all paving jobs, good technique as well as proper planning, execution, and teamwork will lead to quality jobs, enhanced reputation, and significant profits. Top Quality Paving's John Ball uses these photos to work through a driveway paving project, offering insights and tips along the way.
Removing the old pavement
First things first when replacing a driveway, and that usually means removing the old pavement. Skid steers are ideal for this type of work, and bring your truck to haul it all away. Before you start make note of surrounding structures, including patios, gardens, and houses, and even though you're not digging deeply it's a good idea to call your local "one-call" center (or the new 811 phone number which will connect to most local centers) to learn the location of any buried lines.
Teamwork prepares the base
Use stone or in this case processed gravel to level the base. Note the skid steer in the background, which moved the gravel throughout the driveway; the lute man, who is leveling the gravel by hand; and the roller, which is compacting prior to paving. When adding processed material make sure to compact it. Sometimes the material can dry out, and processed material especially will move beneath the roller. Dampening the material with a light mist of water will help keep the material in place, help take the voids out, and improve compaction.
Constructing starting pad, pavement edge
Because the paver needs a platform from which to start, and because the operator doesn't want to start from the concrete apron, which has a slight downward slant, the paver worms out hot mix for laborers to construct a pad of asphalt. The pad is the width of the paver, in this case 8 feet, and 3 feet deep to support the weight of the screed. Note none of the laborers work from the concrete so they don't track asphalt on it. Also note how the lute man (right) positions his lute at an angle; the other laborers shovel mix toward the lute, creating a nice, smooth edge to the driveway.
Starting to pave
After the pad is constructed the paver is ready to start the first pass. The screed is out and has taken off from the pad, the laborer is fine tuning the pad where it might have been marked by the weight of the screed. Note the hopper is up so the mix slides easier into the conveyor, which helps reduce segregation.
Paving and working the paving plan
As the first pull moves out the driveway you can see where the job will require two passes. This approach was discussed and planned for before any mix was placed. As the lute man fine tunes and levels the surface, the shovel man is doing two important things: first, he is removing excess mix from the edge of the screed before it is actually placed; second, as the line on the right edge of the pass shows, he is "cutting" the mat to make room for the next pass, which will overlap the right side of the first pass. Without cutting the mat before the overlap there will be to much material at the joint, and there's a good chance it won't roll down, leaving a slight ridge in the mat the length of the overlap in the driveway.
Shovel tips to fill low spots
As the paver pulls its first pass the crew works to fine tune the mat. The operator gets a shovel of mix from the paver and places it on a low spot. Note that he dumps the mix where it's needed and does not broadcast it over the surface. Broadcasting the mix results in segregation. The shovel of mix will then be smoothed over by the lute man, who also will fine tune the edge of the mat, readying it for the second pass. Do not place a shovel full of mix onto the mat without having it worked by the lute man. The two work in tandem, as a team, and both most work effectively to get the best result.