The appearance of a driveway is just as important to the curb appeal of a home as any sort of exterior landscaping feature. Cracked or stained driveways in Minneapolis, MN will offer a worse impression of a home even if the lawns are maintained well and the outside of the home has been redone. Therefore it is very important that the right surface is installed.
The biggest problem with concrete driveways is that the mixture is under a large amount of pressure as it cures and this can cause cracks. If not for the expansion joints, strips of material that can accept expanding and contracting pressures, a concrete slab will crack or completely break off and shatter. These joints are placed at three to four foot intervals on the driveway. However, even when taking precautions nature can take over. A build up of water can displace the pad resulting in shifting or breaking. In colder areas of the country, such as Minneapolis, MN, the freeze-thaw cycle can accelerate these problems.
The other two most popular paving materials are concrete paving stones and asphalt. Paving stones come in a variety of colors and patterns. This material has the freedom to move with variations in temperatures. However, repeated use or parking on this type of a surface can cause damage.
An alternative to concrete and paving stones, asphalt is easier to install and is much more resistant to weather extremes than almost any other surface in Minneapolis, MN. There are two main types of asphalt.
Hot Mix Asphalt: This type of surface is best for cold climates as we have in Minneapolis, MN. It has more flexibility than concrete and will hold its shape better than paving stones. Hot mix asphalt is made up of stone and sand drenched with liquid asphalt cement. Both the sand and gravel is heated prior to being put into the mixture with the hot asphalt cement. The mixture then is delivered to the site while it is hot for easier application and curing.
Chip Seal: Another asphalt product gaining popularity is the chip seal method. It is similar to the hot mix except that a portion of the asphalt cement is substituted with hot water. This water will evaporate once the mixture is applied so that the driveway material will dry harder. Then the surface of the still-hot asphalt pad is coated with gravel that is pressed into the surface. This makes a harder driveway surface and one that better resists against extreme weather.
Base: As with concrete and paving stones asphalt paving needs a strong base. This means that the surface has to have any obstructions that could rise up and cause breaks in the surface removed. Tree roots, rocks and rotting wood have to be taken out and filled before the base can be placed. This substrata is compacted with a power roller and then a gravel base is spread out across the base.
Restoring Old Pavement
Sometimes an old driveway is structurally intact but looks bad from staining and cracking. There are sealants designed to re-coat the pavement but make sure to seal the cracks with asphalt cement before applying a sealant.