LESLIE: George in Arkansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
GEORGE: Trying to get some insight, maybe to get an idea for what I can do to replace my driveway. What I have is – the entrance of my driveway, where the sidewalk portion is, is concrete but beyond that is asphalt. And the problem I’m having with it is that the asphalt has been worn down over the years. I couldn’t tell you how long it’s been there; it’s a rental property. And the asphalt is worn down, it’s uneven, it’s lumpy and it goes about 30 feet. And then towards the end of the driveway, where it meets up with the dirt that is my yard, it’s crumbling and falling apart.
So I’m wondering, what can I do – I’m going to take the entire driveway out this summer but I want to replace it with a material that is going to last for a while, that doesn’t break down and is fairly inexpensive. And I’m trying to avoid concrete. That’s the only other thing that I can think of. So, what would you suggest?
TOM: So, first of all, you can’t blame the asphalt. Because, if you think about it, roads last a really, really long time and they’re made of asphalt. So why is it that your driveway failed but a road doesn’t? Well, the reason is is because the roadway is properly installed.
If you have the right base put in under that asphalt, your asphalt driveway can last indefinitely. But a lot of times, folks don’t take the time, trouble or expense to put in the right kind of crushed gravel, well-tamped down, properly excavated base under the asphalt. And as a result, you get this sort of lumpy, deteriorated mess that you’re looking at right now.
So you’re doing the right thing tearing it out. But I think putting in a new asphalt driveway, properly installed, will be less expensive than concrete and probably less expensive than pavers, I’m sure. The only other thing that you could do is just go with a stone driveway but of course, that’s kind of a maintenance headache. Because once you go with stone, you always have to add more.
GEORGE: What do you think about possibly doing a brick driveway?
TOM: Well, that’s – when I say “pavers,” paver brick is what I’m talking about. Paver brick looks great, but I think that if it’s a long driveway, like you’re describing, yeah, you can price it out but it’s going to be pretty expensive. But again, the same issue applies: you’ve got to prep it properly. If you don’t have the right base, those pavers are going to move and you’re going to get weeds in between them and everything else.
GEORGE: Right. OK. So, my best bet would be to go ahead and replace it with another asphalt driveway but have the base done properly.
GEORGE: If I was – OK, I want to do the base myself. So, what’s the process I need to go through to prep the base properly so that the asphalt doesn’t fail?
TOM: George, there’s actually an excellent website that you might want to take a look at to review how asphalt should be installed. And it’s the National Asphalt Pavement Association website. It’s simply at AsphaltPavement.org. And if you go to AsphaltPavement.org/Driveways, you find all the information right there.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.