Tarmacing a Drive - Advise Please

Dextur

Distinguished Member
Anybody had this done ?

Ive lined up a half dozen contractors to quote on the job, if anybody has some good feedback on things to ask, or things that went wrong that I should ensure don't etc etc, I'd be pleased to hear about them.

Thanks
 

eric pisch

Novice Member
Its a minefield area and is not cheap if its done properly

avoid people who use old transits / tippers who park them outside there caravans each night :) unless you just want it to look good for 3 months whilst you sell the place

heres a good guide to give you an idea as to what they should do if its being done properly

http://www.pavingexpert.com/tarmac01.htm
http://www.pavingexpert.com/tarmac02.htm

Probably a good idea to get references you can go and see for yourself
 

Dextur

Distinguished Member
Its a minefield area and is not cheap if its done properly

avoid people who use old transits / tippers who park them outside there caravans each night :) unless you just want it to look good for 3 months whilst you sell the place

heres a good guide to give you an idea as to what they should do if its being done properly

http://www.pavingexpert.com/tarmac01.htm
http://www.pavingexpert.com/tarmac02.htm

Probably a good idea to get references you can go and see for yourself
LOL, I hear you, I wasn't really going to entertain the type who turn up with what's left from another job offering me a really cheap deal and then just dump the tarmac over the existing driveway :D

I've narrowed it down to about 6 suppliers all of which seem to have been around a long time, I'll check out those links.
 

Sonic67

Banned
I might be able to help. I was doing a job just round the corner and have some left over.
 

Kebabhead

Novice Member
Needs to be a minimum of 4 inches thick otherwise risk of breaking

Main issue is avoid oil/diesel being spilled onto tarmac as this softens it causes it to break, thats way a lot of parking areas are concrete.
 

Member 96948

Distinguished Member
Anybody had this done ?
It's what I do day to day; I'm a buyer for a construction company in Essex doing roads sewers and ground works for housing estates and commercial developments. I placed orders for surfacing in the region of £1.1m last year.

I've lined up a half dozen contractors to quote on the job, if anybody has some good feedback on things to ask, or things that went wrong that I should ensure don't etc etc, I'd be pleased to hear about them.

Thanks
What is the area of your drive? What is the existing construction (layers of what material and what thicknesses). What's wrong with the existing tarmac - if that's what it is?

Russell
 

Dextur

Distinguished Member
Hi

The existing drive looks to be basically grit and assorted hardcore (probably waste from the house build) and a 2" layer of crappy gravel which is already eroding in the rain.
 

Member 96948

Distinguished Member
Okay, assuming the hardcore is in reasonably good nick (the gravel at least will have to go), there needs to be at least 6" of it, preferably blinded with a Type 1 (40mm down) graded material to give a hard, compacted and flat surface free of voids. Asphalt is flexible, so it needs a firm even sub-base to support it. Do not skimp here. As to what materials cost, is very dependent on where you live. A decent Type 1 crushed concrete is almost as common as air around London and would cost about a £10/tonne to the average punter. In the provinces, it's less common and so Limestone and Granite are used weighing in at £16/tonne.

As regards the Asphalt itself, first things first. It is a hot material and is laid fast. It is never a cold material and is never 'left over' from a job. Even if it were, it would be cold and you wouldn't want it. There are cold macadams, but they're used for temporary reinstatement and by pikeys for taking to peoples houses and claiming 'it's left over from another job'....

Recommended make-up for driveway asphalt would be a minimum of 60mm thick, 20mm DBM (Dense Bitumen Macadam) Base Course - 20mm is the aggregates size BTW. 20mm stone is required to provide the strength for the construction.

This then needs to be topped with a wearing course that should be a minimum of 30mm thick, 10mm DBM Close Graded Wearing Course. Some may say 6mm DBM which looks smoother (like a footpath), but it will get plucked up by power steering, thus ensuring a steady supply of grit into your house for ever more. 10mm Aggregate provides a much stronger, longer lasting bond.

There are now specialist Driveway wearing courses, Like Tarmacs Masterdrive specifically designed with the power steering problem in mind, but like all of the best things, it costs.

Prices for the tarmacing will depend on the areas required and the amount of preparation the contractor is required to do. We, as a company do all our own prep and so pay for surfacing only. We're also doing several hundreds of square metres per week, but for the record, we're paying about £10/m^2 for the 60mm DBM BC and about £7.50/m^2 for the 30mm DBM WC all plus VAT.

Tricks to look out for:

The obvious way for a contractor to save cash is to use more of the cheapest materials and that starts with the hardcore sub-base. The problem is that asphalt has to be laid a minimum 3x the thickness of the aggregate it contains and this is particularly important with the wearing course if it isn't to pluck up.

To check the thickness requires taught string and a ruler to 'dip' the gap beneath. If they're any good, the +/-5mm should be well within their capabilities.

Watch out for cold joints. If the contractor runs short of wearing course, you'll always be able to see the join where this happened. There's nothing physically wrong with it, but you're paying for a professional job so reject it.

Hope that helps,

Russell
 

alan_ward

Standard Member
The important thing not mentioned so far in the replies is the drainage. If this is not properly addressed you will get small individual pools of water after rain which will only drain by evaporation. I would recommend getting the contractor to put in writing the drainge plan. This is most important if your site is relatively flat.
 

Member 96948

Distinguished Member
Good point. If the drive falls toward the road, I wouldn't worry too much - If it falls toward you garage, then you'll need some sort of linear drainage channel placed across the front of the garage, or it will fill up.

The cheapest plastic channel with galvanised steel grating is perfectly adequate unless you're one of those weirdo who actually keeps his car in the garage, in which case go up a grade to include a B125 (12.5 Tonne) grating. The cheap option is about £10-12/m, the upgrade about £30/m.

Russell
 

DVD-Man

Well-known Member
Would I be correct in saying that the necessary excavation cannot be done economically by hand so the abscence of machinery should start alarm bells ringing?

Liam
 

Member 96948

Distinguished Member
That would depend on the quantity to excavate, but I wouldn't want to do it!

Certainly machinery would be required for the compaction of the sub base (Wacker plate minimum) and for asphalt and I would expect nothing less than a pedestrian roller and preferably a small Bomag 80 ride on - this is area dependent though.

Asphalt does not get laid with Wacker, it simply can't apply enough pressure.

Russell
 

Dextur

Distinguished Member
Would I be correct in saying that the necessary excavation cannot be done economically by hand so the abscence of machinery should start alarm bells ringing?

Liam
I think that's a fair assumption Liam,

Having had a cursory examination of the surface I sure as hell would not want to do this by hand. With a pick axe this looks like 2 weeks solid work for a spartan.
 

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