New asphalt driveway (prices)


Old 04-30-18, 04:51 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Dutchess County, NY
Posts: 131
New asphalt driveway (prices)

As usual, when I'm in a philosophical quandry, I come here to seek the comforting wisdom of the sages on DIY. I'm in the process of getting quotes on paving my driveway.

Background: house was built in 2004, but unfortunately, all I could afford at the time was item 4. Alas, after 14 years, I'm fed up with the potholes and snowblowing rocks. Driveway is approx 160' of straight 12' wide, then opening up into a 'hammerhead' parking area in front of the garage. Approx 5200 sq ft total. Completely flat (no grade). Sees typical small sedan use, occasionally an oil truck or UPS delivery.

So far, I've had 3 bidders. All will use the same prep: remove some of the existing item 4, then lay and compact new item 4, and grade slightly to avoid puddling. 2 companies have quoted binder and top coat (of varying thicknesses) which I thought was the norm.

However, today I got a quote from Company 3: 3" of JUST top coat, at a much lower price. The rep said that's all that's really needed for normal residential traffic. He did admit that binder/top is stronger, and will last longer (and agreed to give me a quote for that).

1. Would 3" of just top coat even be acceptable? I'm just an ignorant homeowner, but after a month of researching everything about new asphalt driveway installs...I've never heard of this approach.

2. Is this company just trying to sell a quickie, low-quality job?

Just curious...

Thanx!!! Wally
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Old 04-30-18, 05:24 PM
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Item 4 is used for road base and driveways. It consists of crushed bank run,
which contains sand, dirt and up to 2" stone.
Old 04-30-18, 07:40 PM
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Is this company just trying to sell a quickie, low-quality job?
I would say not because he is quoting the job to your specs, including quoting with and without the binder.

Only you can determine how long you will live there and if it is worth the extra money for a longer lasting driveway.
Old 05-01-18, 07:37 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Dutchess County, NY
Posts: 131
Thanx PJ and Tolyn!

Tolyn - I actually didn't give him (or any of the bidders) any specs - other than dimensions. In my ignorance, I thought the binder/top coat process was the 'norm', since I had never heard or read of anyone just using top coat (hence my question). I guess I was just a little surprised that that's what he quoted...and didn't offer anything else until I questioned him on it.

**When requesting bids, should I specify "I'd like the driveway to last X years."?

As I get a little 'smarter' about this, I think I'll ask each bidder (plan to get 2 more) to spec 2-1/2" binder and 1-1/2 top coat. That way I'll have apples-to-apples.

Thanx again! Wally
Old 05-01-18, 09:34 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 3,101
Have never had a blacktop drive that was anything but a single layer.

Good drainage it key, make sure you get good formed (hand tamped) edges!
Old 05-02-18, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 1,333
item 4 is the nys dot term for select granular fill but don't recall 2" being admissable,,, in ga, its 'graded aggregate base' ( gab, gab course ),,, forget pa's term,,, nevertheless, if you want the d/w to really last, 4" item 4, 2 12"base (binder), & 1 1/2" top ( wearing course ),,, you'll pay more but it'll last longer,,, you do get frost in duchess
Old 06-08-18, 07:47 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Dutchess County, NY
Posts: 131
stadry - Sorry for the delayed response...just saw this. Thanx!!

Just signed contract with the first bidder. Thickness will be: (compacted) 2-1/4" binder with 1-1/2" top coat (3-3/4" total thickness). We discussed this at length...he feels that, since my driveway has been in place for 14+ years, it's plenty compacted. He'll remove approx 6", then re-install enough item 4 to set the proper grade to avoid puddling...then lay the asphalt.

I went with him for several reasons:

1. He's been doing residential driveways in my area for a bagillion years...including most of the driveways in my neighborhood. I walked around and looked at more than a dozen of them. They all look fine to me (nice tamped edges, very little cracking, etc).

2. He does most of the road/street work for our town. When he covers a 'cut-through' for a water's flat, and stays flat...unlike the usual 'speed bump'.

3. He lives about 3 houses down from me. I have assured him I will be pounding on his door if there's any problems...LOL.

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