What’s Under Your Asphalt and Why Does it Matter?

September, 02, 2020 By CASSIDY PAVING 6 min read
Are you familiar with what’s under your asphalt driveway or parking lot? If not, you’re in the majority. The crew at Cassidy Paving knows that most people aren’t aware of what’s underneath their blacktop and why it means so much to the functionality of your asphalt pavement. Understanding what is normal for each layer of your asphalt will allow you to notice issues before they become big problems. Typically, there are three layers of your asphalt pavement, and here’s an overview of what’s underneath and why it matters.

The Surface

The surface layer is the part of asphalt that is the most frequently noticed by the general public. This is your smooth blacktop and the part over which you’re driving and putting the most wear and tear. Pavement Interactive’s definition of this layer is “the layer in contact with traffic loads” that “provides characteristics such as friction, smoothness, noise control, rut resistance, and drainage”. This is often made of hot mix asphalt. If there’s an issue with your top layer, you’ll notice cracks or standing water. This can be easily addressed if caught early.

All About the Base

The base layers can be as thick as needed but usually have at least two layers. Referred to as the aggregate base, the layer directly beneath the blacktop will give you added load-bearing support and frost barrier. The Chicago Tribune reports that underneath the blacktop you will typically find gravel and “the first layer should be 3 to 4 inches thick. It should be graded smooth and then compacted with a heavy rolling machine”. Below that compacted layer will be your subbase, which is often made out of lower-grade materials but is a better course than the subgrade soil. You could be asking yourself why all of these layers underneath the asphalt surface are important. That question has many answers. In New England, we see treacherous winters and our ground goes through a frost/thaw phase. During this time the asphalt expands and contracts with the absorbed moisture in the base and subbase. If not properly installed, your base levels will begin to wear away beneath the asphalt top layers causing potholes or even complete failure. Cassidy Paving can help you determine exactly what types of layers and materials need to go under your blacktop to give you the parking lot or driveway that matches your precise needs.

The Asphalt Experts

Our goal at Cassidy Paving is to give you asphalt pavement that can last for years to come without fear of untimely damage. We want you to understand why we do what we do and the reasons behind it. If you’re tired of seeing potholes or other damage in your asphalt, let’s chat. We can help you understand where the issues are happening and what we can do to resolve them. Give us a call today at 866-978-9788 for your free estimate.
Filed Under: Asphalt

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Cassidy Paving Company

Based in Haverhill, MA, Cassidy Paving is a commercial paving company serving southern NH and Massachusetts.

Cassidy Paving

Mission Statement: Delivering commercial and industrial paving services with courteous service, clear communication, and consistent results.

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