Base preparation is different for installing asphalt and concrete. More than 50% of asphalt’s strength comes from its base. If the base is done improperly, it can lead to major issues. Unlike asphalt, concrete gets most of its strength from its hardness. Both need an appropriate base for a long lasting outcome.
Occasionally customers want to do their own prep-work. If that is the case, here is what you need to know.
Excavating and grading
Excavate the area where you want to have the asphalt or concrete laid. Keep in mind that when excavating you need to account for base plus either asphalt or concrete. Usually asphalt is 3” thick and concrete 4”.
After you have excavated, add back base, keeping in mind your target grade. Use 3”-12” road base for asphalt and 3”- 6” of ¾ in gravel for concrete. The grade is the slope that the asphalt or concrete will have in order to make sure that water is able to run off. Concrete should have at least a 2% grade and asphalt 3%.
Grade can be measured using some simple items you probably already have around your house. You’ll need a bubble level, tape measure, and a 2X4. Take the 2X4 and put it on the ground with one end at a high spot and the other end pointing in the direction you expect the water to drain. Place the level on the 2X4. Pick up the low end of the 2×4 and lift it till the bubble in the level is centered between the two lines marked on the level. Measure the distance between the end of the 2X4 and the ground in inches.
Take that measurement and divide it by the length of your 2X4 in inches. Then move the decimal twice to the right and that is your grade percent. Repeat this grade check in multiple locations to make sure all areas slope toward an acceptable drainage area.
Example: Measurement from bottom of an 8 foot 2×4 to the ground is 3 inches. 8 feet is 96 inches(standard 2X4 length). 3 divide by 96=.03125. Move decimal to the right twice (3.125). Slope is just over 3%.
Once your grade is correct, rake the surface smooth, moisten, and compact.
Contact Top Job
When you have completed these steps, contact us about laying the asphalt or concrete. If, after reading this, you realize it might be a good idea to have a professional do it we would be more than happy to help. Call us for a quote and then we’ll schedule a time to finish your project. We pride ourselves on doing it right and making sure our customers are taken care of.
Top Job Asphalt can help customize your project to meet your individual needs. We work hard to train our employees, so that you as the customer can feel comfortable asking questions and knowing that you are getting credible information.