Asphalt Paving from A to Z

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Questions about paving contractor terminology? Check out our glossary for clear definitions of commonly used terms.

Asphalt.  A mixture of approximately 95% stone, sand, or gravel bound together by asphalt cement, a product of crude oil.

Base.  The rock layer between the sub-base and asphalt. Its grading and compaction are key to both the drainage and strength of asphalt driveways and parking lots.

Curing.  The time that asphalt needs to harden. Wait 3-4 days before driving on a new asphalt driveway and one week before parking on it.  The full curing process can be 6 to 12 months.

Drainage.  An important consideration when installing a parking lot or driveway is where the water on the pavement will go.  It may be directed toward a naturally low point on the property for absorption into the ground or to a drain in the parking lot.

Environmentally friendly.  Asphalt is the nation’s most recycled product.

Fabric.  If the sub-base stability is questionable due to a high clay content, for example, a geo-textile fabric may be installed for stabilization.

Grade.  Taking into account the slope of the area to be paved and the current drainage pattern, the rock base can be manipulated by grading or regrading to the proper specs.

Hot mix asphalt.  HMA refers to the most commonly used asphalt mixes.  It is manufactured by asphalt plants at temperatures between 270º to 325º F and then purchased by asphalt paving companies for installation.

Lift.  Think layer.  Asphalt is installed in lifts, one lift is common in residential driveways while two lifts may be used in parking lots.

Mat.  Asphalt is dispensed by the paver in the form of a mat.  Its thickness is adjusted by the paver operator, but it is commonly laid at two to four inches.

Overlay.  Adding another mat (or layer or lift) on top of an existing paved surface.

Paver.  The machine that lays a uniform mat of asphalt at a specified thickness.  The asphalt is then compacted with a roller.

Quiet.  Asphalt is known to be a quieter surface than concrete because there are no expansion joints/seams.

Replacement.  The pavement of an existing parking lot or driveway is removed and the area is re-paved with asphalt.  The base may or may not be removed in the replacement process.

Sub-base.  The native material (sand, soil or clay) underneath the base layer of a parking lot or driveway.

Tack.  A thin coating applied between asphalt layers to ensure they bond together properly.

Value.  It’s what our customers get: quality work at a fair price.

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