Why the Thickness of Asphalt Pavement Matters

May 14, 2018 6:28 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When you decide to hire an asphalt contractor in Middlesex County, MA, you’ll want to consider a few things about the job. Important items include subgrade preparation, drainage and asphalt thickness. How thick the asphalt should be is dependent upon how much the area will be used and the type of soil beneath the asphalt. Today we’ll be taking a closer look at asphalt thickness in terms of residential and commercial uses.

What is the driveway or parking lot being used for?

To determine how thick the asphalt should be, first you need to know the amount of usage it will get. This is critical because, if the asphalt isn’t thick enough, it will begin to deteriorate. For a residential driveway, this won’t require the same level of asphalt thickness as a heavy-duty commercial lot.

The granular base aggregate used for a residential driveway is typically 6 to 8 inches. For commercial lots, granular base aggregate is dependent on usage, but is typically 8 inches. On top of this layer, residential driveways typically use 2 to 3 inches of asphalt, whereas commercial driveways use about 3 inches. The type of asphalt mix can also affect the thickness, with open-graded mixes having different requirements than traditional mixes.

The type of soil base is also critical for building an effective foundation for the asphalt. Gravelly, rocky soil is perfect for good drainage. However, clay or loam soil is notorious for poor drainage and may need to be replaced. Whether the subbase is compacted or an aggregate substance will also have some effect on the thickness of asphalt. Without the correct subbase preparation and asphalt thickness, the parking lot or driveway will quickly degrade and could be rendered unusable or require significant repairs.

Heavy-duty vs. light commercial usage

If you expect that the parking lot or driveway will have significant traffic—for example, large trucks and loading docks—it’s recommended that a 2-inch finish be layered on top of a 2-inch binder, for a total of 4 inches. For full heavy-duty commercial lots, 7.5 inches of hot asphalt mix will be poured onto the subgrade to provide extra durability.

For a light-duty lot with a 6-inch aggregate base, 3 inches of hot asphalt mix is used. For a parking lot with an aggregate base expected to receive heavy-duty usage, it is recommended to go with a 6-inch thick hot mix asphalt layer on top of a 3-inch aggregate base layer.

Cooper Bros. Asphalt Paving Inc. offers high-quality asphalt and paving services to North Reading, Andover and the surrounding communities. We’ve been the leading asphalt contractor in Middlesex County, MA for more than four decades. For every project, we pride ourselves on delivering excellent work at a reasonable price. Our specialties include services such as commercial and residential paving and asphalt, parking lot maintenance, parking lot repair, commercial and residential driveways, golf courses, private roads, field coating, asphalt milling, asphalt reclaiming, stone driveways and more. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and arrange a free consultation!

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