Asphalt Driveway Paving Process Explained: 8-Step Process

August 29, 2023

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Installing a new asphalt driveway is a significant home improvement project that requires careful planning and execution.

What does the driveway paving process look like? In brief, the driveway paving process involves excavating and preparing a stable base, installing edges, spreading and compacting hot asphalt in layers, allowing proper curing time, and cleaning up the site. Professional asphalt pavers use specialized tools and techniques to ensure a smooth, durable driveway.

Follow this 8-step process to ensure your asphalt driveway paving project goes smoothly from start to finish.

1. Evaluate the Existing Driveway and Site

The first step is to thoroughly examine the existing driveway, take measurements, and identify any problems, areas, or flaws. Look for cracks, crumbling sections, potholes, and drainage issues. You’ll also want to evaluate the site layout, slope, and available space for the new driveway. The company will determine if driveway resurfacing is an option or if you require an entire driveway tear-up and installation. Consider how the new driveway will connect with the garage, sidewalks, and street. Measure the approximate square footage to determine how much asphalt you will need.

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2. Remove the Old Driveway (If Necessary)

If you're replacing an existing asphalt driveway, the old asphalt will need to be removed. This is typically done by a process called milling, where a machine will grind up and remove the top layer of old asphalt. Ensure proper equipment is used to break up and remove old driveway materials safely.

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3. Prepare the Base

The base underneath the asphalt is incredibly important for structural integrity and drainage. Excavate down 4-6 inches and fill with compactible gravel aggregate material like road base or crushed stone. Compact the subbase using a vibrating roller or mechanical plate compactor. This graded aggregate base will provide excellent drainage and stability.

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4. Install Edging

For a clean, finished look, edging is highly recommended. This also helps contain the asphalt. You can use concrete curbing, brick, metal landscape edging, plastic, or treated wood. Secure edging to keep it flush with the new asphalt height.

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5. Choose your Asphalt Mix

Work with your asphalt contractor to determine the best asphalt mix for your climate and driveway needs. A dense grade asphalt works well for driveways in most regions. Be sure to choose the appropriate aggregate size within the mix. A planning meeting can help you review options.

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6. Hire an Asphalt Paving Contractor

Unless you’re very experienced with asphalt installation, it's wise to hire professional asphalt contractors to handle this tricky paving process. Reputable companies have the right tools, materials, and skills to get your driveway paved smoothly. Contact companies, get estimates, and check references before hiring.

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7. Install the Asphalt

On the big day, the asphalt will be trucked in and poured at the necessary depth (usually 2-3 inches). Workers will rake and spread it evenly. Compaction is extremely important and done in several passes with rollers. This presses the hot asphalt into a compact, smooth surface built to last. Proper techniques and timing are imperative.

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8. Dry Time and Cleanup

Once the asphalt has cooled and dried (generally 24-48 hours), the driveway is ready for use. Construction barriers can be removed, and any leftover debris cleaned up. Avoid parking on the new asphalt until it has fully cured. Also, wait at least 30 days before applying any surface treatments like sealcoating.

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Concluding Thoughts

With the right planning and hiring professional asphalt pavers, you can gain a stunning new driveway surface built to provide years of performance. Patience is key, as adequate drying and curing time are vital steps. Follow these tips, and your asphalt driveway installation should provide superb functionality and aesthetic appeal.

About Arlington Paving and Sealcoating

Are you searching for an honest paving company that offers 1-year warranties, affordable rates, and a great work ethic? Set your sights on Arlington Paving and Sealcoating! Our team cares about 100% customer satisfaction. For epic residential, commercial, and industrial paving and sealcoating projects, please call (817) 783-4480​ and schedule an appointment.


What is the proper way to pave a driveway?

The proper way to pave a driveway is to prepare a solid base of compacted aggregate material, install edging, work with paving professionals to determine the right asphalt mix and allow the asphalt adequate time to fully cure before use. Proper planning, base preparation, material selection, contractor hiring, and curing time are key to ensuring long-lasting driveway performance.

Is asphalt laid or poured?

Asphalt is poured, not laid, during driveway installation. Hot-mix asphalt arrives on trucks and is poured out then spread evenly before being compacted with heavy rollers in order to create a smooth, seamless asphalt surface.

How long should gravel settle before paving?

For proper driveway installation, the gravel base should be allowed to settle for at least 1-2 weeks before paving over it with asphalt. Allowing adequate time for the stone base to compact and settle helps prevent future sinking or cracking when the asphalt is poured on top.

How do you prepare asphalt for paving?

Asphalt is prepared for paving by heating aggregate and liquid asphalt binder to 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit at an asphalt plant to create a hot mix that can be easily poured and spread. The hot asphalt mix is loaded into trucks for transport to the paving site and must be quickly poured and compacted before it cools and hardens.

What time of year is best to pave a driveway?

The best time of year to pave a driveway is during the warmer months of late spring through early fall when temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Paving in cold weather is not recommended because the asphalt will cool and harden too quickly, preventing proper spreading and compaction.

What is the best temperature to pave a driveway?

The best temperature to pave a driveway is between 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

How thick should gravel be under asphalt?

The gravel base under asphalt should be 4-6 inches thick for proper support and drainage.

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