Asphalt Driveway: Problems Already!

jeff8541September 11, 2008

I just had an asphalt driveway installed 5 days ago on 9/6/08. This morning I noticed an area with cracks and split buldges, like something is pushing up from below. The pavement there is still kind of soft to the touch. The buldges are about the size of a half golf-ball and I can see plant material.

The old driveway was gravel, but mostly dirt/grass. The contractor scraped the old existing surface, levelled it with a steam roller, then laid 2.5" of asphalt. Is this a sign of shoddy construction, or are moles trying to destroy my new driveway? I think I have moles as there are several mounds of dirt that keep popping up all over the yard. I live at 9,000' in Colorado if that makes any difference. Should I have the contractor come back out to fix it? Seems like they'd have to completely re do that section rather than just patch it.

Thanks for any advice.

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lucy

Good luck finding the "contractor". I bet you found him when he came to the door with a card, because he was "on your street"? Those people are notorious and you should never, ever hire them for anything. Only when YOU make the call to reputable companies (and get the best of at least 3 estimates) can you choose who will do the work, who can produce references for you to check beforehand, and who enter into a written contract so that (theoretically at least) you have some way to find them again if there are problems. Of course just putting a layer of (probably badly mixed) asphalt over dirt won't be good for anything. You need proper pavers, who will put down gravel, and possibly sand, and build up the paving on top of it - and there may be more to it (don't know the whole procedure) but what you got was a mess, not a paving job.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 7:56PM
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jeff8541

Actually, right after I read the above statement, the company that paved my driveway called me. They came out a couple days later and looked over the problems. What we discovered is that there are plants actually pushing up through the asphalt! I couldn't believe this, but it is true. In every dome/crack there is a fresh baby plant! The guy told me that he couldn't believe it either, but has been doing this for 10 years and its common. They even sprayed weed killer on the ground before placing the asphalt.
What he said is that when they scrape the ground it exposes seeds, then, the warm asphalt on top promotes growth. Even though we could drive on the surface after 48 hours, he told me that it takes ~60 days for the asphalt to completely cure.
He finally told me that I need to get weed killer, spray int the cracks and then flatten down the dome/cracks as best I could. After winter, they will be back next spring to fix the damage. We have a 1-yr. warranty on the driveway.
So, good news and I learned something in the process. Anyone else heard of sprouting plants pushing through 2.5" of asphalt before? Amazing!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 4:22PM
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joed

A proper asphalt drive has 9-10 inches of compact gravel base. You got a cheap job and you got what you paid for.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 5:34PM
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davidandkasie

an asphalt drive should be laid HOT. if it is at proper temp it would scorch any seeds. you got ripped. i guarantee you that next spring this guy and his company will be nowhere to be found. and it sounds like they used cold patch for the asphalt instead of the proper mix.

BTW, concrete drives are 2.5-3" thick MINIMUM, softer asphalt should be at least 4" and both MUST be done on a proper base. if you are somewhere with a frost line, i bet your drive heaves like crazy over the winter.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 10:56AM
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jeff8541

You guarantee me? Wow, y'all are a bunch of clairvoyants or experts I guess. Can I see into your crystal ball too?

Anyway, the company is local and got an A- with the BBB (I'm sure I could've done worse). I already had a base; the old gravel driveway that they re-levelled and compacted. I found nothing consistant in web searches on the minimum thickness for asphalt. They all mentioned that it is dependent on the thickness of the base, and measurements ranged fom 1.5" to 6". I already live on a solid granite mountain with very little soil, so I don't think I'm in that much trouble. Time will tell.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 3:44PM
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davidandkasie

if you are already having issues, then yes you will be in trouble the more time passes. at least you did use a known company. maybe he will honor the warranty come spring, who knows.

there is no way plants should be breaking thru teh surface this soon. maybe in a few years when it starts to crack some, but not right now. i still say it was done improperly.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 10:25PM
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jdm_56

I need to repave my asphalt driveway, so I've been investigating how it should be done as well. I came across this site for the National Paving Contractors Association. They have a consumer's message board area where you can post questions and paving-related issues, and some of their professional members tend to provide answers. It is not all that active, but you might want to post what you did here and see what they say about your situation. You don't have to register, but they also review what you want to post before they put it on the message board.

Here's a link: http://pavementpro.com/forum/

For what it's worth, in the first consumer topic area, Residential Questions and Answers, someone posted a topic titled "Poor Paving Job" that sounds similar to what you posted, except it is someone from New Hampshire. You might want to take a look and see what some of the pro paving contractors had to say about gravel base and asphalt layer thicknesses in that particular instance. Not saying your situation is similar to this one, but it might give you an idea of what you can expect back as a reply.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 5:00PM
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ADVANTAGEHOWARD_YAHOO_COM

I HAD ASPHALT DRIVE PUT 1MONTH AGO. THE PROBLEM IS THE ASPHALT WON'T DRY WHEN YOU PARK ON IT TIRE DEPRESSIONS ARE LEFT. WHEN YOU DRIVE ON THE DRIVE IT MOVES LIKE A SPONGE. TURNING THE TIRES MAKE FRESH OIL COME TO THE SURFACE. I USED A CONTRACTOR IN BUSINESS FOR 20 YEARS HE SAYS MUST BE BAD ASPHALT HE WILL REMOVE AND REPLACE. ANYONE SEEN THIS HAPPEN!! ANY OTHER HELP BESIDE REMOVING DRIVE?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 10:42AM
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actionclaw

HOWARD

"What the Sam Hill you yelling for, George?"

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 3:56PM
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millworkman

you heard him yelling from 4 years?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 8:08PM
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