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Answers to Questions You Might Have About Asphalt Driveways and Walkways

Asphalt can be a good choice for a residential driveway and walkways, as it's usually more affordable than concrete and sets much more quickly so you can drive or walk on your new pavement sooner. If you're thinking about asphalt installation for your home, note a few questions you might have and then discuss these with a contractor so you can determine if this is the right choice for you.

1. Is asphalt an eco-friendly choice? 

Asphalt can be recycled and reused in new projects; it is usually melted down and then mixed with new asphalt for either paving or for roofing tiles. If you're concerned about what happens to asphalt if it's ever removed or torn up, discuss this with your paving contractor and note how many asphalt recycling facilities exist in your area and how easily the material can be reused.

2. Does asphalt need maintenance?

Over time, asphalt may develop small cracks and pits. As water seeps into these cracks, it can be more readily absorbed by the asphalt, which can then expand and shrink, causing it to crack even more. Dirt can also get into these pits and cracks and weeds then start to grow through, also putting pressure on the asphalt and causing it to crack. Regular seal coating will protect the asphalt from moisture and from these small cracks and pits that can become even bigger problems. 

3. How long does the asphalt last?

It's impossible to give an exact answer about the life expectancy of asphalt as this will vary according to the traffic and weather that affect the material, and the quality of the material as it's made. In most cases, you can expect the asphalt to last a good twenty years, but note that neglecting needed repairs or seal coating can mean allowing larger cracks to develop sooner, as mentioned above. You also want to ensure your property is properly draining so that no water or moisture collects under the asphalt and causes it to shift and buckle, or to absorb that moisture and eventually crack.

4. Can asphalt be applied over old asphalt or concrete?

This will often depend on the condition of your old asphalt or concrete, and if it supplies a solid base for the new asphalt. In some cases, it may be better to simply pull up old material so that it doesn't start to break down under your new asphalt, leading to cracks and other damage. Your asphalt contractor can advise you on what would work best for your driveway or walkways.