Paving Asphalt the Right Way

Asphalt Paving Charleston SC requires an experienced crew and equipment. Paving Companies maximize productivity through the best paver operation and maintenance techniques.


The aggregate components of an asphalt mix are weighed with a belt weighing instrument and dried by rotary dryers. This step is critical to ensuring the blend meets design specifications and has adequate stability.

Paving asphalt is a great way to provide a durable, attractive surface for roads, parking lots, and driveways. But before any paving can take place, the area must be properly prepared. This step is important because the proper foundation for your asphalt surface will determine its longevity and performance.

After ensuring that the sub base layer is in good condition, it’s time to add the binder layer. This is made of large aggregates mixed with oil and makes your new asphalt surface strong, resilient, and durable. This layer also helps your asphalt stand up to the elements and heavy traffic.

Once the binder is in place and any soft areas have been addressed, it’s time to lay down the top asphalt layer. This is composed of small aggregates like sand and oil. The combination creates a jet-black asphalt that provides a smooth, attractive surface and a safe ride for vehicles.

This is one of the most important steps in the process. It’s vital to ensure that the asphalt has been poured evenly, compacted, and smoothed. This will help prevent rutting and other problems later on in your pavement’s life.

TFHRC has developed a number of methods to test asphalt for quality, including the use of handheld spectroscopic devices that allow asphalt paving contractors to quickly analyze samples without having to transport them back to a lab. These tools can detect the presence of REOB, as well as lime and styrene-butadiene rubber polymers.

Another important step in the preparation of an asphalt pavement is to verify that the soil under the surface can support the load of a structure or structure built on it. Failure to do this can result in a pavement structure that sinks or buckles under the pressure of traffic and weather conditions.

Finally, any transitional areas between the new asphalt and existing roads, parking lots, or driveways must be graded and compacted to make sure that they’re strong enough. This is also when butt joints are installed to ensure a smooth transition and proper water run-off. Once the transitional areas have been taken care of, a proof roll is used to secure and seal the underlying asphalt surface.

The proper mixing of paving asphalt allows it to meet the required stiffness, resistance to deformation and durability. Various types of mixes can be made to suit different requirements such as traffic volumes, weather conditions or noise reduction. The mix needs to be able to support the heavy weight of vehicles while maintaining good traction. Aggregates vary in size, gradation, hardness and toughness, which is why careful selection and blending is so important for achieving the right mix type. The aggregate must also be properly connected by asphalt binders to ensure the finished product can resist varying pressures and movement.

The mix is heated and thoroughly blended with additives such as recycled materials, emulsions, or polymers to achieve the desired consistency and performance. These additions help minimize asphalt binder drain-down and improve mix stability, workability and durability. The mix is tested for its temperature, density, and particle size distribution before it is loaded into trucks to be delivered to the job site.

Once at the jobsite, the material is placed on the road by specially designed equipment. The hot asphalt must be compacted to the correct density (145 lb/ft3) in order to prevent future cracking and failure of the pavement. The compaction process can be assisted by vibration or mechanical tamping.

Hot mix asphalt, also known as HMA, is the most widely used paving material in the country. It is produced by heating a mixture of aggregates, binders, and fillers to temperatures between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the plant. This creates a viscous liquid that can be poured over the aggregate and then crushed, mixed and distributed by the paver for construction.

Another popular option is cold mix, which does not involve any heating of the aggregate and is usually used for patching and repairs. The mix is created by emulsifying asphalt in water before it is mixed with the aggregate. The result is a less viscous material that requires fewer fossil fuels for production, and that can be spread and compacted manually.

Governmental transportation agencies and contractors have recognized that traditional prescriptive mix designs were not delivering pavements with the required performance. A new method of designing HMA mixtures called balanced mix design has been developed to replace this approach. This new design incorporates the rutting and fatigue test results of the Hamburg and Overlay Tester with the lab molded density and aggregate stockpile specific gravity of the mix in order to predict performance and determine its suitability for a particular application.

When it comes to paving asphalt, compaction is one of the most critical phases. Achieving a certain asphalt density allows the pavement to resist damage caused by traffic and weather elements over time. However, the process of achieving this asphalt density involves more than just using the right equipment. It also requires a great deal of attention to detail.

The first step in ensuring proper compaction is to ensure that the new layer of asphalt is still warm enough for compaction. The asphalt-concrete mix should never be allowed to cool down below a temperature that can’t be reoriented by the compaction equipment into its densest configuration. This compaction cutoff temperature is typically 175 F or higher.

This is why it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature of the asphalt mixture during the laydown and roller compaction stages. In addition to the temperature of the mix, a contractor must consider the base temperatures of the existing pavement and the ambient air. This is because the temperature of the base and the ambient air affect how fast the HMA cools.

After the pavers finish placing the new layer of asphalt, the crew then uses a series of mechanical compaction passes with pneumatic tire or vibrating plate rollers. These rollers are designed to help increase the density of the pavement. However, it is important to note that the type of roller used must be appropriate for the size of the aggregate used in the mix. If a large roller is used on a small aggregate, the compaction force may be insufficient to achieve the required density.

The sequence, speed, location, and pattern of the roller passes can have a profound impact on the ability to achieve asphalt compaction targets. This is especially true if the mat temperature is low and the roller passes are made too quickly.

Another important factor that can influence the ability of a contractor to achieve compaction targets is wind velocity. A high wind velocity will cause the HMA to cool more quickly than a low wind velocity. It will therefore take less time for the material to reach a temperature that can be reoriented by the compaction equipment and the rollers.

The rolling of asphalt is a critical part of the paving process. When done correctly, it can lead to a pavement layer with high density and long-lasting durability. Properly regulating the temperature of the mix, using a roller with the proper size and type of tires, and maintaining a consistent rolling pattern are all important aspects of the asphalt compaction process.

Vibratory and static rollers are both essential paving tools for asphalt construction. Depending on the project, these tools may be used alone or in conjunction with a paver to achieve desired results. When choosing a roller, contractors should consider the size and type of surface they are building, as well as the budget for the project.

When the paver is in motion, the rollers must follow suit, or the resulting asphalt surface will have inconsistent quality and density. The best way to ensure a consistent and precise roller rolling pattern is to train the operator before the job starts. During training, the operator learns how to read the paved area and maintain the proper speed. In addition, the contractor should use a nuclear density gauge during paving to measure compaction as it occurs. This is an important step to help identify areas of over-compaction and determine if additional paving steps are necessary.

Ideally, an HMA should reach an air-void content of 3% to 8% during the compaction phase. This can only be achieved by using the right amount of pressure from the rollers and a correct sequence of operations. Breakdown rolling is often done first, followed by intermediate and finish rolls. The breakdown roller should have a drum width that is equal to or greater than the paver’s layout. This ensures uniform coverage of the paving panel.

The TFHRC is working on a new method of looking at the compaction of asphalt. By measuring the viscoelastic properties of an asphalt sample, researchers can identify what materials were added to the mix during blending. This information can then be used to improve the performance of asphalt mixes and reduce rutting. The process also allows for a better understanding of how shear stresses impact the underlying layers of an asphalt pavement.