There is more involved in installing asphalt pavements than simply laying down hot materials and compacting them. Time and effort is placed into proper paver setup and maintenance, sufficient head of material, paving speed, mat temperature and thickness, and rolling pattern. They all contribute to quality asphalt paving with an end result of a smooth finish that will withstand the test of time and increase curb appeal.

1. Proper paver setup and maintenance

If a paving contractor inspects their equipment and tools thoroughly, you know you are working with a trained professional. Paving machines play a vital part in the laying asphalt process, and therefore it is necessary that they are examined not only to guarantee that the job is completed correctly, but also to protect the safety of those working on it.

Paving equipment should also be maintained. Release agents should be applied to equipment parts that come into contact with hot asphalt. Some machines already accomplish this automatically, or you may press a button and the pieces are automatically coated with the release agents that are built into them. Contractors should also tailor the screed to the specifics of the project, such as the slope and thickness of the crown, to ensure that the machines function quickly and fluidly.

2. Sufficient head of material

The paving mix mass in front of and across the screed is referred to as the “head of material” by contractors. It is critical that it remains constant throughout the paving process.  In the event that it is not, you can encounter uneven and unsmooth surfaces. In the case that  the material head rises, the thickness of the mat simultaneously increases, resulting in uneven surfaces and faults that must be corrected later. However, many modern machines are already outfitted with devices that allow operators to simply verify and check their material head.

3. Paving speed

When the paving pace does not remain fairly uniform, ripples, waves, and uneven mat depth may be the ending result. Since a change in paving pace can directly impair the capacity to build a consistent mat, the paver should run uninterrupted throughout the day in an ideal paving project. Timing the delivery of hot mix material to keep the hopper at least one-third filled is additionally affected by speed fluctuations. As a result, fluctuations in paving pace are sometimes caused by trucks arriving at the project inconsistently or bumping the paver during the truck changeover.

Consider the quantity and size of trucks, the volume and output of the mixing plant, rolling and compaction rates, crew capabilities, and the distance from the mixing plant to the paver when determining the paving pace. Speed limiters, similar to cruise control in automobiles, are available on some paver types to manage paving speed. It is generally time for the compaction operation now that the paver has been correctly positioned and the mat has been put with the right material and constant pace.

4. Mat temperature and thickness 

Asphalt pavement must be able to withstand unexpected weights, strong traffic, and harsh winters, depending on location. Best procedures for compaction will protect asphalt integrity and postpone the need for road maintenance.

The first rule of compaction is to keep an eye on the mat temperature. To eliminate cavities and extra air in the pavement structure, compaction must be completed while the mix is still fluid enough to enable aggregate particle movement. In some cases, the amount of time available for compaction is restricted to 10 minutes. Hot mix asphalt cooling is consistent and may be predicted based on past experience and current ambient conditions. To find the ideal temperatures, a compactor operator should keep records on projects and different types of materials. Once this is established, it is critical to stay in that zone throughout the day.

Secondly, thickness is another major aspect in compaction. The mix design and mat depth or thickness are determined by a project engineer who estimates the projected usage and traffic volume for the desired pavement. Setting the right angle of attack is originally the duty of the paving crew, although compaction plays a role in the “finished” mat thickness. As a general guideline, estimate a 20 to 25% compaction to the end desired thickness. The rolling pattern is the final phase in the process with a properly set and compacted mat.

5. Rolling pattern 

Maintaining a proper rolling pattern is the final and one of the most important phases in the asphalt paving process. It influences road smoothness and adds to the road’s long-term stability. It is critical to finish rolling before the mix temperature goes too low to obtain the desired density, this method enables for the best quality.

There are a number of factors involved in installing quality asphalt paving. However, along with the described tips it is best to also consider professional and experienced asphalt pavers. Planning and equipment are only as good as the person who executes them, which is why proper training or seeking professional installers can directly affect that quality of your asphalt paving.