Asphalt Paving 101: Essential Tips For Successful Projects

Building a high-quality, long-lasting road requires more than merely heating rocks and compacting them, as most road crew members are aware.

There is a specific science to completing asphalt paving jobs successfully. Everything you see in them is the product of thoughtful preparation and meticulous planning. The timing of the rolling pattern, the mat temperature, and the correct installation of the pavers are all interdependent. Also, paying close attention to detail at any point might determine whether you earn a bonus. The first step is to put up the pavers correctly.

The goal of all the hard work put into project planning, mix design, and machine maintenance is to have a pavement that is both visually appealing and durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of passing vehicles.

Here are some things to keep in mind while you work toward that goal:

Proper Paver Setup, Smooth Pavement

Before any work starts, it is crucial to check the paving machine and its parts for any problems that might compromise safety or function. Verify the levels of all fluids before starting up. Put the paver in motion and double-check all of the gauges.

To keep the asphalt from adhering to exposed metal surfaces, prime any parts that will come into touch with it throughout the day with a release agent or coating solution. Several paver companies have created in-machine coating technologies that work in tandem with their products.

You may save time and effort by properly preparing the machine and setting up the screed. Preheating the screed before use will keep the mat from sticking and dragging while you set it up according to the project’s specifications (width, mat thickness, crown, or slope). The usual temperature range is between 107 and 135 degrees Celsius (225 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit).

Adjust the screed-plate angle to the required paving depth using the depth cranks. The mat thickness may be adjusted by adjusting the screed’s angle when it comes to asphalt paving Tacoma WA. The projected traffic and usage of the planned pavement are used by a project engineer to determine the mat depth.


The team should pay attention to the aspects that will produce the highest quality pavement once they have ensured the paver is in optimal operational condition.

Installing An Excellent Mat

Concerning pavement quality, two critical factors are material level and paver speed. Be consistent with the paving speed and the head of material in front of the screed—these are the two most crucial things to consider while installing a quality mat.

Keeping A Sufficient Head Of Material

More than 95% of material problems are prevented when asphalt is properly applied on the screed. What you see in front of you and that extends over the whole width of the screed is the “head of material”—the bulk of the paving mix. A level and smooth pavement surface is practically impossible if this varies substantially when paving.

A wavy surface can result from an increase in mat thickness caused by a higher head of material, whereas significant faults are caused by a fall in mat thickness. The proper material head must remain consistent over the whole width of the screen.

Paving Speed

When the paving pace is not kept reasonably consistent, it might cause ripples, waves, and uneven mat depth. Because paving pace directly affects the capacity to build a homogeneous mat, an ideal paving operation would involve the paver operating continuously throughout the day.

Timing the delivery of hot mix material to keep the hopper at least one-third filled becomes even more challenging when speed adjustments are involved. As a result, trucks often arrive at the worksite in unpredictable ways or hit the pavement during the truck exchange, both of which might cause fluctuations in paving pace.


Now that the paver is in the right place and the mat is placed with the right material at a constant pace, the compaction process may begin.


Unpredictable loads, excessive traffic, and, depending on location, severe winters are among the challenges that pavement must overcome. Maintenance of roads can be postponed by following compaction best practices, which maintain the asphalt’s integrity.

The completed highway will not support structures or traffic loads enough unless the material is compacted or densified correctly; otherwise, it will deteriorate. The compaction quality is influenced by three main factors: the temperature of the mat, the depth or thickness of the mat, and the patterns of rolling of the compactor.

Thickness And Temperature Of The Mat

Keeping an eye on the mat’s temperature is the first compaction guideline. To eliminate air pockets and cavities in the pavement, compaction must be carried out when the mixture is still fluid enough to permit aggregate particle movement.


There are situations where you may only have 10 minutes to condense. You should expect the hot mix asphalt to cool down at a certain rate depending on your past experiences and the weather where you live.

To find the optimal temperatures, a compactor operator should track projects and various materials. Staying in this zone all day is crucial after you set it.

How Does One Go About Paving Asphalt?

  • When paving asphalt, the first thing to do is clear the area of any plants or old pavement. Tools like bulldozers and jackhammers could be needed for this.
  • After clearing the area, a layer of gravel is placed evenly and compacted with a roller to create a base.
  • Once the asphalt is hot enough, it may be worked into a workable consistency. Specialized tools, such as a heater or asphalt paver, are usually needed.
  • Asphalt is spread over a gravel base after it has been heated and then rolled or tampered with to make it smooth.
  • The last step before using the asphalt is to let it cool and solidify overnight.

Be advised that asphalt pavement must be left to cure for at least 24 hours before its usage. If you must drive or walk on the surface, wait at least 48 hours. It will provide ample time to solidify the material and form a strong link with the gravel substrate below.

In The End!

As we’ve already shown, asphalt paving is no simple task; it requires meticulous preparation and expert execution. It is recommended that you get the advice of a licensed contractor with expertise in installing asphalt pavement before proceeding with any such job on your property.

In addition to providing you with a reliable cost estimate, they can also offer advice on how to properly install and maintain your pavement so that it lasts for many years to come. It should survive for many years if you take good care of your new asphalt parking lot or driveway.

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