Applying pavement is no simple task. It requires a lot of talent, experience, and equipment. If you ever decide to start a paving company, or you have the patience and riches to pave your own, here are the six main steps to driveway paving:

First, you need to know which scope of work the driveway falls under. Choose one of the three below and follow it through the 6 steps!

The Three Scopes of Work:
(Peel and Pave): If you have an already existing driveway with pavement. You simply wish to remove the old asphalt and replace it with a new one.
(Grade and Pave): Your driveway currently only consists of gravel and you are looking to create an asphalt driveway on top of where the gravel currently exists.
(Full Excavation and Pave): Your driveway consists of neither asphalt, nor gravel. For example, this scope pertains to someone who wishes to build a driveway where a lawn currently exists.

Step 1 (Excavation/Peeling and Dumping):
Equipment Requirements: Excavator/Backhoe X 1 Dump Truck X 1
  • (Peel and Pave): The first step is to remove the already existing asphalt and place it in the dump truck. A typical driveway has approximately 2 inches of asphalt.
  • (Grade and Pave): To ensure longevity, you must ensure that your base (thickness of the gravel) consists of at least 8 inches of gravel. The best way to check is with a pickaxe or shovel. If it does, then skip this step. If not, they you must add the missing amount. For example, if you currently have 6 inches of gravel, you must add 2 inches.
  • (Full Excavation and Pave): If you do not have a driveway but wish to add one (i.e.. turning a lawn into a driveway), you should excavate 16 inches in depth then place it in your dump truck.
Step 2 (Sub-Grading/Fine-Grading):
Equipment Requirements: Backhoe X1 or Paving Machine X 1
  • (Peel and Pave) (Grade and Pave): Add 1-4 inches depending on how much your driveway has settled over the years, then use the paving machine or backhoe to level it based on the grading you are trying to achieve. Make sure the grading is optimal and has positive drainage (driveway must slope away from the house), otherwise you will spend a fortune on asphalt and foundation repairs!
  • (Full Excavation and Pave): Dump an equivalent of 16 inches of gravel in your desired proximity, then use the backhoe or paving machine to level it based on the grading you are trying to achieve.
Step 3 (Compacting the Base):
Equipment Requirements: ½ to 5 ton compactor X 1p
  • (Peel and Pave, Grade and Pave, and Full Excavation and Pave) This step is the same for all three scopes of work: Compact the driveway in vertical paths. Compact each area at least 8 times in its entirety.

Step 4 (Paving):
Equipment Requirements: Paving Machine X 1 / Skilled Laborer’s X 5+

  • (Peel and Pave, Grade and Pave, and Full Excavation and Pave) This step is the same for all three scopes of work: First you must ensure that enough asphalt is ordered for the total volume of the area you are working in.
    • The best kind asphalt to use for a residential driveway is HL3.
    • Order enough asphalt for 2.5 inches of thickness. This will give you 2 inches of asphalt after compaction.
    • Ensure you hire an experienced paver to apply the asphalt for this part (the asphalt must be applied when hot, you must pave it quickly!). Unfortunately, this step cannot be taught through You-Tube videos over-night, no matter how many views the video may have! You can learn how to do everything on your own… except this step!
    • Apply the asphalt in vertical paths, from the top-down.

Step 5 (Compacting the Asphalt):
Equipment Requirements: ½ to 1-ton compactor X 1

  • (Peel and Pave, Grade and Pave, and Full Excavation and Pave) This step is the same for all three scopes of work: Compact the surface carefully, do not make any sharp turns otherwise you will ruin the curb appeal of the asphalt! Do not over compact otherwise you will over-stretch the asphalt, which will cause cracks.

Step 6 (Celebrate!!!) – Congratulations! To have made this work, you are either very skilled, or a Marvel character!