How to Tell a Bad Asphalt Driveway Job from a Good One (Signs of a Bad Asphalt Driveway Job)

For many reasons, your driveway is an essential feature of your home — one you want to make sure functions properly and complements your home’s appearance. Whether your driveway was paved years ago or you’ve just had a new one installed, understanding the signs of a good driveway job vs. a bad driveway job can help you learn whether your driveway was laid correctly.

This information can help you understand whether you need to invest in any fixes. Having issues with a new asphalt driveway can lead to further problems later on, so you should take the time now to make sure the job was done correctly.

Signs of a Bad Asphalt Driveway Job

What does a bad asphalt driveway look like? The quality of your asphalt driveway is a critical part of your home’s curb appeal — you want an asphalt driveway that reflects the quality of your home and property. Additionally, you want to ensure your driveway will stand up to constant wear and weather.

These are a few signs your driveway wasn’t paved correctly:

1. Cracking

This issue can occur when the asphalt is poured onto a cracked concrete base. When water gets into the cracks, it freezes and thaws in cold weather, which can significantly damage the asphalt by making the cracks below bigger. Additionally, cracking can occur when asphalt is poured onto a sub-base with a bumpy surface or soft soil or a thin layer of stone underneath. This facilitates movement, leading to cracks that can expand if left unattended.

2. Oxidation

Oxidation is a natural part of asphalt’s aging process. It occurs when your driveway is exposed to the sun’s rays and turns your black finish into a light gray color. This process takes place over several years, but you may notice slight signs of fading a few months after your driveway was laid, especially if it’s subject to constant sun exposure.

Oxidation can be slowed down by sealing the asphalt soon after being laid. If your driveway wasn’t sealed properly, oxidization will happen faster, leading to a faded appearance.

3. Depressions

Dips and depressions in your driveway may occur after a couple of weeks, which is a result of the Earth moving below. This problem is caused by an insufficient stone layer beneath your asphalt and the ground not being flattened enough or properly tamped down. As a result, the ground moves and settles, shifting the asphalt.

Depressions can also affect your driveway if it’s used before having enough time to set properly. Walking, driving or applying heavy weight to the driveway while it’s setting can result in dips, ruts and ditches that are unsightly and make it less smooth to drive on.

4. Crumbling

Potholes, crumbled edges and loose parts coming off your driveway are signs of a major problem. These signs usually mean the asphalt mixture lacked enough bitumen, and as a result, the mixture is drier than it should have been. The more you use your driveway, the more it will break apart. The only step you can take to solve this is to hire a professional and have them redo your driveway.

How Do You Know if an Asphalt Paving Job Is Good?

In comparison, you can also consider a few components that point to a proper asphalt paving job. Here are the many signs of a good paving job you can look for:

  • Thickness: The more a driveway is used, the thicker its asphalt layer should be. Residential driveways need to have 2 to 3 inches of asphalt. A granular base aggregate should be 6 to 8 inches below the asphalt. Under that layer is the soil. Rocky, sandy and gravelly soil provide great drainage. Clay and soft soil should be excavated and replaced with a stronger base before laying the base layer and asphalt.
  • Drainage: Water poses a significant threat to your driveway. A good slope and suitable drainage is the best way to avoid water damage. Ensure water does not pool on your driveway and cannot seep into cracks.
  • Foundation: The foundation of your driveway is the best way to ensure it will be strong and reliable. A solid subgrade and aggregate base layer is vital. Any loose, wet or soft dirt must be removed, and compact rock must be placed before proceeding with the driveway’s construction. Good foundation work is the best way to prevent new asphalt driveway issues from arising.
  • Transition areas: Smooth transition areas clearly show a paving job done well. The transition from your driveway to curbs, drains, other paved surfaces and where the asphalt ends should always look smooth and even. The driveway should be easy to drive over without feeling a bump. For example, having a natural sloping end to your driveway makes it look great and delivers a seamless change from your driveway to the road.
  • Asphalt mix: The asphalt mix affects its appearance, strength, smoothness and other key factors. Consult your chosen driveway company about which kind of mix is best for your property and what it contains.

Trust CMI Paving Is Your Best Bet for Residential Driveways in Central Pennsylvania

The best advice we can give anyone considering an asphalt driveway is to work with experts you trust. At CMI Paving, we know how to tell the difference between a good asphalt driveway job and a bad one because we only deliver the very best. If you’re searching for professional and reliable residential driveway services in Central Pennsylvania, you can trust us to do the job right.

If you’re looking at your asphalt driveway and noticing signs of a poor job, our team can help with that, too. We are owner-operated and offer a wide range of services, from completely removing and replacing asphalt driveways to driveway repairs and maintenance. We pride ourselves on our expertise and the professional services we deliver to our clients.

To find out more, schedule an estimate today, and we can help you get the asphalt driveway of your dreams.