Wednesday, August 24, 2011


We were looking at getting some paving work done.  The back driveway was something of a fire hazard; we don't use it very much, and the weeds were taking over.  We've used weed killers there that we were led to believe by the warning labels were one step below Agent Orange and two steps below using a small neutron bomb, but the weeds just laughed, and continued growing.  Paving this would solve the problem.

In front, we had an 8 1/2 foot wide strip leading to the garage apron, but there was still a lot of area that needed paving.  In winter, it was impractical to clear it because it was uneven and the rocks would jam the snowthrower.

So we called the people who did the driveway--and unfortunately, they seem to be out of business.  The people that ended up doing the job know them; the principal was buried in a gravel load for several minutes, and suffered serious brain damage.  He is still alive, but apparently the damage was quite serious.

We sought some estimates for about 3600 square feet of asphalt, but on the way home, I saw some trucks from Boswell Paving at work a mile away, so I gave them a call, and did the, "Hey, you already have your equipment up here and you are doing a big job, maybe we can get a discount since you already have equipment and materials here?" approach.  And it worked.  We were not the only people with a small job interested in piggybacking our project.

Boswell Paving suggested that to get the cost down below $6000 (which was my target spending level), instead of traditional asphalt, they could do a chip and seal (or as it sometimes called, tar and chip paving) instead.  This involves grading, dropping road mix, then applying asphalt cement (the black stuff that makes asphalt what it is), and another layer of road mix.  It looks like a gravel road at first glance, but after a few hot days of driving on it, the asphalt cement works its way up, and the excess gravel gets removed by driving on it, and you get something that looks much like a conventional asphalt road.  I did a little reading about this approach, and what I found confirmed what Boswell told me: it will be about 2/3 the lifetime of a conventional asphalt surface, and at a much more reasonable cost.  It might not be the best choice if you regularly have very heavy equipment coming through (semis, motorhomes), but for our needs, it seems like it will be sufficient.

Anyway, all done, and I am very pleased at how careful they were in laying it down--right to the edge of the brickwork that delineates the garden area.