Asphalt is an excellent material for paving roads, parking lots, and driveways. It’s durable, weather-resistant, and relatively affordable. However, when paving with asphalt, some factors come into play: compaction and thickness.
If you don’t compact the asphalt properly, it can start to break up and crack. But if you compress it too much, it can become brittle and chip away. So how do you know if you’re doing it right? Keep reading to find out as The Pavement Group goes over the essential information about asphalt compaction.
What is Asphalt Compaction?
Asphalt compaction is packing down asphalt material, making it denser and more rigid. This process is crucial because it strengthens the asphalt, making it less likely to crack or break under pressure. It also makes the surface smoother, improving traction and preventing potholes from forming.
There are two ways to compact asphalt: with a machine or by hand. Machine compaction is usually done with a roller, which flattens and smooths out the asphalt. Hand compaction is more labor-intensive but can be as effective if done correctly.
Compacting Asphalt by Hand
If you’re working on a small paving project, like a walkway or driveway, you may not need a machine to do the job. Hand-compacting can be just as effective – as long as you do it right. You need to ensure that you’re using the right tools and techniques.
Compacting Asphalt with a Machine
While working on larger projects like a driveway or parking lot, you may want to consider renting a plate compactor. This machine does most of the work for you and can be rented from most home improvement stores. It is essential to read the instructions carefully before operating the machine.
What Happens If Compaction Goes Wrong?
Compaction shouldn’t be a problem if your asphalt contractor keeps in mind the temperature, moisture, and thickness of the asphalt mix. However, if these factors aren’t considered, a few things can go wrong.
If the asphalt is too cold, it won’t compact properly. The ideal temperature for compaction is above 175 degrees Fahrenheit when the asphalt is fresh. However, if the asphalt is too hot, on the other hand, it can start to bind together and become difficult to compact. The ideal temperature for compaction is below 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the asphalt is too wet, it will also have trouble compacting. The water makes the particles of stone and sand separate, making it harder to compact. However, if the asphalt is too dry, it will be dusty and not bind together correctly.
Potholes and cracks can form if the asphalt isn’t compacted correctly. If the asphalt is too loose, water can seep in and cause the ground to shift. It can cause the asphalt to crack and crumble. If the asphalt is too tight, it can cause the surface to be uneven.
So, what do you do if your compactor goes over the asphalt instead of under? You guessed it – call The Pavement Group. We’ll come out and fix the mess as quickly as possible so that you can get back to normal (or better) than before.
And don’t forget, we also offer a variety of other services like crack paving and sealcoating in Nashville, TN, so be sure to get a free pavement quote from us today!