What goes into paving an asphalt parking lot? It looks as if the asphalt is just poured and dried and that’s all it takes, but there is a lot more going on underneath the surface. A good gravel base is required in order to have a parking lot that is well-functioning. Generally, that gravel base should be between two and eight inches thick for most jobs. A base too thick or too thin will produce a substandard lot.
Asphalt is made up of stones, sand, liquid asphalt cement and aggregate. This mixture is heated up so that it becomes a liquid and it is poured over the gravel base to create your parking lot. Pouring asphalt results in a thick, black parking lot that absorbs heat during cold weather. This is effective in melting new snowfall efficiently and quickly. Although asphalt is more durable than cement, in cold climates it may not be quite as durable because the ground freezes below the surface. Because of this, some asphalt and concrete paving companies are experimenting with the water composition in asphalt. They have been able to create more cold resistant varieties as a result. This more weather-resistant asphalt is called a chip seal. Usually, 30% of the liquid cement is replaced with water. The heat of the asphalt causes the water to evaporate, which leaves a more weather-resistant finish.
To obtain a chip seal style lot, after the asphalt is poured, a layer of crushed gravel is sprayed on top of the asphalt. A spreader is then used to move the pieces evenly all over the top of the asphalt, with a drum roller used after to pack down the gravel. This adds texture to the asphalt and is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in areas with cold climates.