Asphalt Paving FAQs

What determines the lifespan of my asphalt?

Base Material: Gravel (Granular A) is the sturdiest type of base. "Leda Clay" also known as Quick Clay, is a volatile base and covers most of the Ottawa area, including but not limited to Orleans, Findlay Creek, and Barrhaven. There are methods of reducing the risk, but unfortunately, there is no way to eliminate it. A high groundwater table could cause soil and rocks to be saturated with water, causing potential settling in the spring, summer, and fall; and swelling when the water freezes in the winter.

Thickness of Base: The thicker your base, containing the proper material, the less shifting will occur. The minimum recommended base thickness is 8 inches of Granular A.

Weather Variations: The more significant the weather variation, the more asphalt is prone to cracking, heaving, and dipping. Ottawa has one of the most significant weather variations globally.

Quality of Asphalt: There are dozens of qualities of asphalt. The highest residential quality we recommend and use is HL3.

Thickness of Asphalt: Thicker does not necessarily mean better. Residential asphalt rollers can only compact up to 2.5 inches of asphalt. The asphalt will remain malleable and vulnerable to shifting defects if more than 2.5 inches are applied.

Equipment: Newer equipment could have features that improve the application, compaction, and cosmetic appeal.

Wear and Tear: Wear and tear include but is not limited to: weight on asphalt per square inch (Lighter vehicles and parking in the garage will cause less wear and tear than vice versa), dry steering (turning of the tire without moving the vehicle) frequency, salt application (deteriorates asphalt and causes tar to oxidize), base settling (earthmoving underneath asphalt)...and more.

What can I do to increase the lifespan of my asphalt?

Maintenance after every second frost season: Heat causes tar to oxidize, leaving your asphalt surface dry and brittle. Tar is the substance that keeps your asphalt malleable, allowing it to expand and contract with temperature variations, along with shifting and settling of the earth. Maintaining your asphalt with Tar restores elasticity and minimizes surface corrosion. As part of our LIFETIME WARRANTY, we pass by after every second frost season to apply an equivalent of four coatings of liquid tar simultaneously to prolong the lifespan of the asphalt surface. Our technicians are M.T.O (Ministry of Transportation) certified and carry a T.D.G (Transportation of Dangerous Goods) license. We use city spec UN1999 Tar Liquid. Cracks should always be filled during the spring, summer, or fall, before the winter season to avoid water from getting beneath the surface and freezing. Failure to fill cracks may cause potholes, heaves, and dips. If we notice any cracks during our maintenance, we will fix them free of charge as part of our LIFETIME WARRANTY.

Apply less salt on your asphalt.

Try to park in the garage as often as possible (for residential properties).

Contact us as soon as you notice a defect so we can ensure it's repaired on your next maintenance visit.

How do you calculate the cost of an asphalt repair?

We internally calculate your maintenance cost as if we were quoting a customer for an asphalt maintenance repair. We have an algorithm with standard pricing to ensure fair and consistent pricing with all our project estimators. 

Is it normal for stones to pop out of my asphalt surface?

Stone popping might occur at high temperatures, causing the asphalt to expand slightly. This occurrence is deemed normal. Typically, you will experience this in areas with a high stone concentration (specifically if your driveway is freshly paved and under direct sunlight).

Do I need a permit to expand my asphalt perimeter?

It is your responsibility to abide by by-law zoning regulations; if not, you are doing so at your own risk. It is your responsibility and will be your liability. You are responsible for any respective fees or expenses for permit requirements. Make sure to send us a copy of the permit as soon as you receive it.

Is it normal to get tire marks on my new asphalt surface?

Contrary to popular belief, asphalt is at its weakest point when first paved. It takes approximately two years for asphalt to get to its maximum durability and strength.

It is common to get tire marks on fresh asphalt within the first two years. This usually occurs from driving a heavy vehicle on a hot day.

What are the repercussions of having a tree next to my asphalt?

Tree roots may be harmful to asphalt, causing heaving and cracking. Once asphalt is peeled, it is recommended to remove any tree roots before applying new asphalt. Black Tar Corp. will not be responsible for the health of your trees if tree-root cutting is required to pave. Any tree roots located within 8” in-depth, from the surface should be excavated and disposed of. Tree-root cutting is an additional charge. Please consult your project estimator for an accurate quote. Damage caused to your driveway from tree roots will not be covered under warranty.

What if I don't have an adequate base under my asphalt?

During a Peel & Pave project, if we determine that your sub-base is not adequate and would be advantageous to have it replaced, a Black Tar Corp. staff member will call you to inquire if you would like to proceed with the additional charges. If there is no immediate answer or you decide not to replace the sub-base, the project will continue, and no warranty will be offered on the paved surface. If you do choose to replace the base, the exact cost will be relayed to you and the warranty will commence as per the contract.

What if I have two layers of asphalt, or if my asphalt is thicker than 3 inches?

During the peeling process, if the asphalt being peeled is more than 3" in thickness, Black Tar Corp. will be charging an extra $1.50 for each additional inch of thickness per square foot. The current price on this quote includes peeling asphalt up to 3 inches.

Can I still pave if the road is higher than my foundation and/or garage?

This is a common problem in older neighbourhoods. The road height increases by a few inches every time it is repaved, which eventually results in the road being higher than parts of your asphalt surface. We will send one of our knowledgeable project estimators to provide you with a solution.

Is it normal to have minor water pooling on my newly paved asphalt?

Close drainage tolerances and hand application of small sections of asphalt may create some slightly uneven surface areas. Minor shifting of the sub-base may also cause some puddling. Any spot holding water 3.5mm (0.14 inches) or less deep is almost impossible to eliminate; fortunately, water will evaporate before causing any damage or surface corrosion, which is why they are acceptable based on industry standards. Also, brand new asphalt contains very high oil content and tends to retain some water on the driveway. However, as these oils gradually evaporate, some water pooling may disappear.

Where should the water drain on my new residential driveway?

We ensure positive drainage by sloping the driveway away from the foundation of the house. It is up to our discretion as to where the water will end up draining so long that it does not stagnate by the foundation. If the City's road is higher than the end of the driveway, we may be required to slope the driveway towards the sides, onto the surrounding area (grass or city ditch).

Is there anything I should do after Black Tar paves my asphalt? (Residential)

Our Quality Assurance Specialist will provide you with a "Driveway Care List", containing steps on how to maintain your driveway.

Can you apply asphalt around the edges of my culvert?

The maximum slope recommended for asphalt by "The Ontario Building Code" is 25%; the steeper the asphalt, the faster it will crack and collapse.

Does Black Tar Corp. warranty cracks under 1/4" in width?

Our LIFETIME WARRANTY covers cracks of any size.

How does frost in the ground damage asphalt?

We live in a climate where frost is in and out of the ground multiple times a year. Frost causes movement in the ground, which results in low and high spots and other various problems that may not have been present when installing the asphalt. Frost will cause these areas to heave, dip, and settle many times during the spring, winter, and fall cycles, or it may not occur at all for several years.

Why do some parts of my asphalt driveway and/or parking lot have more stone than others?

Certain areas have to be installed by hand (using an asphalt rake). Raking asphalt causes the sands to sink to the bottom, leaving the stones on top, giving a visual impression that the stones are more predominant in that area.

Is there a risk of damage to my property during the paving process?

Once the project has been completed, a Black Tar Quality Assurance Specialist will take the property owner for an inspection; any damages addressed while Black Tar Corp. is present will be noted and repaired. Damage(s) that are not noted before Black Tar Corp. has left the premises will not be covered.

How accurate are your asphalt measurements?

We measure twice to ensure accuracy. Once during the quoting process and a second time upon job completion. If a discrepancy occurs, the quote will be revised to reflect the proper measurement. We recommend that the project owner be present during this process.

Which asphalt projects apply to this warranty?

This LIFETIME WARRANTY applies to residential and private commercial fully-paved surfaces, concerning peels and paves, grade and paves, full excavation, and light-duty paves, and heavy-duty paves. Asphalt Maintenance repairs concerning ramp installations, sealing, and cut and patch repairs are not included.

When will my project be completed?

'Project Deadlines' are entered into each quote to provide you with a date for which the project should be completed. Due to unforeseen circumstances such as the weather and equipment breakdown, project deadlines may be extended on a per-project basis. *Due to COVID-19 and the restrictions we are all experiencing now, Project Deadlines may be postponed by a few weeks. The time postponed will be calculated based on our asphalt suppliers’ operational capacity and delays incurred due to a slower than normal production rate.*

What is a Water Service Post?

A water service post controls water flow from the city water main to your property and can be used to shut off water flow in case of repairs and/or emergencies.

What is a Water Shut-Off Valve?

A Water Shut-Off Valve is the same as a Water Service Post. Water Service Post Definition: A water service post controls water flow from the city water main to your property and can be used to shut off water flow in case of repairs and/or emergencies.

Will you fix the elevation of my Water Service Post and/or Water Shut-Off Valve before paving?

If the water service post is below or above grade, we will attempt to level it with the newly paved surface. If it is not possible, it will be the home owner's responsibility to call the City to locate the water service post once we have completed paving. If this requires cutting into the new asphalt, Black Tar Corp will not warrant such work as this is City specifications.

Can you replace my Water Service Post and/or Water Shut-Off Valve?

We can replace it for a fee, please contact us for a free estimate

What is Asphalt?

Asphalt, scientifically known as Bitumen, primarily consists of aggregate, tar, and sand filler. It is the most common material used for over 70% of global main roads and highways.

What are the main benefits of asphalt?

Asphalt has been proven as one of the least expensive materials to install with the fastest installation timelines. It is also cheaper to maintain than interlock and concrete.

How long does an asphalt driveway last?

Asphalt lasts from 15 to 30 years, depending on the quality of installation. Asphalt could last a lot longer depending on many variables, such as weather and extent of use.

What is an Overlay?

An overlay consists of adding a thin layer of asphalt (approximately 1.5" or 50mm) on top of already existing asphalt.

Can you pave in the rain?

Full re-paving projects can be implemented in light rain but may have to be rescheduled during heavy rainfall. However, asphalt overlays are not recommended in the rain since the new asphalt may not properly adhere to the old asphalt surface.

What should we consider when hiring a contractor?

A multitude of factors determine whether a contractor should be hired. Online reviews (Google and Better Business Bureau) and word of mouth will give you a good indication of past dealings. Warranty duration and coverage will clarify the companies confidence in its quality and end product. With respect to asphalt paving companies, as of 2021, Black Tar Corp. has the most Google reviews in Ontario and the longest asphalt paving warranty in the country. 

When can we drive on our new driveway?

The hotter the weather, the longer we recommend staying off your driveway. To be on the safe side, we always recommend staying off your driveway for a minimum of 10 days. If the weather is above 35C for a few consecutive days (4 days or more) stay off the driveway for an additional few days.

Can I salt my driveway?

Salt deteriorates the liquid tar on your asphalt and is very corrosive. Black Tar recommends using “Alaskan Ice Melter” since it is less harmful to your asphalt and is environmentally friendly.

Are there any risks to my existing interlock when I have my asphalt installed?

Existing interlock will have settled into place and will usually not shift. Nevertheless, Asphalt paving requires heavy machinery that frequently vibrates; this may cause vibrations in the ground resulting in interlock shifting. There is a chance you may have to re-apply polymeric sand once asphalt paving is completed. Black Tar Corp. will not be responsible for shifting of interlock.

Are there any risks to my brand new interlock when I have my asphalt installed?

Asphalt paving requires heavy machinery that frequently vibrates. Occasionally, this causes a slight vibration in the ground that may result in some interlock shifting. We recommend interlock be installed before asphalt paving. Black Tar Corp. will not be responsible for any movement in interlock during asphalt paving installation.

Are there any risks of paving in tight spaces? (i.e. inside my carport)

The exhaust air coming out of our machines might warp or bend any plastic surface. Black Tar Corp. is not responsible for any possible plastic melting.

Why do I need a valid cell phone and email address?

At Black Tar Corp. we pride ourselves in being market leaders, which means that our advanced software requires our customers to have a valid cellphone number and/or an active email. This allows us to ensure all of our customers are well informed with live updates.

Can I quick-cut the asphalt myself before you begin my project?

Quick-cutting must be completed by Black Tar trained technicians to prevent overcutting or undercutting. Insufficient quick-cutting could have adverse effects on the remainder of the project. 

What’s the Dip? How does it happen?

The Dip happens when the first foot or two of asphalt that connects to your garage floor starts to sag. This area of your driveway is most likely to experience a dip; the reason this occurs is that heavy machinery is not well suited to compact this small area connecting to your garage floor. We use a ‘Jumping Jack’ which allows for further compaction of that area.

What does 'Project Deadline' mean? How would that date affect other projects?

Project Deadline is a calculated date typically occurring at the end of each month where your project should be completed. The dates included in the quote are not final dates but rather the dates we would aim to have your project completed by. If you wish to start/finish your project at a later date than the one mentioned in your quote, please inform your Project Estimator so they can relay that message to our Project Management Team. If you are having more than one project completed by Black Tar Corp. the latest Project Deadline on your Quote(s) will be the date where all the projects will be completed.


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Specialists In Modern Construction

Black Tar Construction is an Ottawa-based company that offers Asphalt Paving, Interlocking, and Foundation Repair services.

Black Tar Construction was founded in 2013 with the goal of offering outstanding customer service for our customers, and a great work environment for our employees. The growth of Black Tar has been achieved through exceeding customer expectations year after year. The customer is a priority through every step of the way. Our commitment to quality has allowed us to foster closer relationships with our customers, suppliers, and staff.

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