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Simpson & Simpson, Inc.

P: 530.885.4354    E:


Unmatched quality makes Simpson & Simpson your solution for all your paving needs

Need more details on what is involved in the paving process? See our Paving 101 section

Q1: Why is my asphalt more coarse in some areas?

Asphalt is a mixture of sand, crushed rock and oil. When asphalt must be installed by hand in tight areas, up against walls or corners the mixture will tend to segregate allowing the sand to fall and the rock “bones” to rise to the surface and give a more rough appearance. Skilled installers can reduce these areas but some segregation is inevitable. These rough areas, if kept to a minimum, will not affect the life of your new asphalt and a seal coat will help to fill these porous areas.

Q2: Why do driveways crack?

Assuming the subgrade and baserock were installed correctly, cracking can occur because of tree roots, hot and cold temperatures or the earth moving. Today’s crack filler products do a great job of sealing cracks and keeping water from penetrating down into the subsoils causing future problems.

Q3: Why do weeds and grass grow through my driveway?

Certain types of grass and weeds are very destructive to asphalt, they seek the moisture under the asphalt and can literally push thru two or more inches of asphalt. If a weed begins to grow thru your asphalt, kill it with a good quality weed killer before it can do expensive damage to your asphalt.

Q4: Is seal coating just for looks, or does it serve a purpose?

New asphalt needs to cure before it is sealed, we recommend waiting one year after the asphalt is installed. If the sealer is installed with no dilution or very little water added you can expect it to last for years. Driveway sealer will protect the asphalt from UV rays and water intrusion, both of which will “dry out” the surface oils in the asphalt allowing the sand that keeps your asphalt smooth to wash away leaving the course rock behind. Over time this action will cause the asphalt surface to become rough and porous eventually leading to structural failures and cracking.

Q5: Can I simply put a new layer of asphalt over my old one?

Yes, but certain factors play a part in how much of your old asphalt can be resurfaced. Things to look at are: Will the additional thickness affect drainage? Is the existing asphalt capable of holding a new surface or is it damaged and cracked to a point where a new surface would fail.

Q6: Where’s the water going to run? Let’s talk drainage.

Subgrade preparation is everything. If you are starting from scratch with a new driveway or road, now is the time to make sure the drainage is correct and the subgrade is compacted and solid. Many contractors will do as little as possible to get the foundation built right the first time in lue of a cheap price. A skilled operator will spend the time to get the drainage right, the soils compacted and above all the correct amount of baserock under your new asphalt. Many cheap prices are usually indicative of someone that will cut corners on subgrade preparation and quantity of baserock. Anyone can pave a driveway but it takes skill to do it right the first time. Once its paved you bought it for life done right or not. Most cheap jobs are simply setting you up for a lifetime of maintenance.

Q7: Ive been putting rock on my road or driveway for years, why do I need more baserock before installing asphalt?

Baserock is the foundation of a long lasting job. It not only provides stability but it allows minor drainage under the asphalt and it provides a smooth leveling course for the paver to follow so the asphalt is installed with an even thickness. In some cases only a small amount of additional baserock may be needed to “touch up” low spots or rough areas, in other cases a specific additional thickness may be necessary get everything smooth and up to grade prior to paving. Each job is unique, a skilled professional will tell you what they recommend for your specific job.

Q8: What is "alligatoring" - Why is my asphalt cracking like this?example of alligatoring

Cracking or "Alligatoring is a condition easily recognized by a series of cracks grouping together in one area. This type of cracking is indicative of subgrade problems. The closer these cracks group together the shallower the failure and inversely the larger the grouping the deeper the failure. A trained professional can determine what is causing the problem and give you options on how best to repair it. Dont confuse other types of cracking with subgrade failures, tree roots and old brittle asphalt can also be a cause of cracking that may only be a surface failure.

Q9: Question: If a contractor says to you. "Iexample of alligatoring will beat your lowest bid" What should I do?

Ask yourself if you feel this is morally right. In todays economy its tough to pass up a deal, but are you going to get a quality job in the end? Sometimes you get what you pay for. Its usually a given that something will be sacrificed in the construction of your job to pay for that discount and unless you know what to look for during construction it wont be obvious until something fails or you are mowing the grass that is growing through your new driveway.

People should want a contractor with ethics and morals, so they can trust they will do a good job and stand by their work.

Q10: I have seen a lot of new and old driveways with rough broken and crooked edges. Why is it important to compact the edges of asphalt?

asphalt edge compactionOn large commercial jobs like freeways and parking lots it is not as critical but on your private driveway it makes the difference between an average job and something to be proud of. We take our edges very seriously, their is nothing worse than crooked ragged edges on a new asphalt driveway.

Making strait lines straight and curves and angles smooth is our signature. It doesn't add cost or time to a job but it does add durability and a more finished appearance. We know that you only have one chance to make a good first impression and we work hard to make that happen.

Q11: I can’t afford an asphalt job right now, how can I improve my road without a large expense?

By installing compacted baserock the proper way we can eliminate poor drainage, mud and heavy dust giving you a clean maintainable "gravel" surface that can last for years at a fraction of the cost of a finished asphalt job.

Q12: Is 3/4 inch class 2 baserock, from different suppliers, all the same?

No. Their are a number of suppliers in our area and each carries a different type of material even though they are all classified as class 2. Most of the suppliers carry baserock that will work just fine on flat ground or under asphalt, but different conditions and uses require suppliers that carry baserock that will achieve the desired finished product. Steep slopes over 12% require a baserock that will compact and stay tight when a vehicle is going up or down the hill. baserock that will be driven on or used as a traffic surface require a material that will also stay together but has a low dust factor. When installing asphalt on a steep grade it is imperative that a baserock is used that will not unravel under the weight of the trucks and the paving machine that is installing the asphalt. If the wrong baserock is used for any of these conditions the life expectancy of your road will be dramatically reduced especially if it happens under your new asphalt. We have years of experience using all the different types of baserock available in your area, we know what works and what doesn't and we will give you all the options we recommend for your unique job.

Q13: Why is it important to compact baserock even if I want to drive on it?

Baserock is a mixture of sand and gravel "crushed rock”, by grading it smooth, adding water if necessary and compacting it with the proper equipment the different sized aggregates are locked together to form a semi solid surface. Under normal conditions the surface aggregate may loosen up but the bulk of the material will stay compacted and in place. Baserock that is simply dumped out and driven on without proper compaction will separate allowing the fine material to wash away and leave the loose rock behind. The loose crushed rock will never compact and will pile up in the center and shoulders of the road. This condition is usually what happens after the job is bought and paid for. Proper installation and material makes the difference between a long lasting job and a road that you need four wheel drive to negotiate.

Q14: What is the difference between asphalt skim patching and R&R (remove and replace)?

Different types of failures in your asphalt or chipseal surface require different types of patching. Surface failures or broken edges that were not caused by faulty subgrade can be skim patched with hot asphalt. Skim patching is when new hot asphalt is simply smoothed over and compacted into a low or pot holed area after the surface is prepared.

R&R type patching is done when the subgrade has failed causing a surface failure like heavy cracking. In this type of patching the area is typically saw cut square and the failed surface is removed to the appropriate depth. Then the subgrade is compacted, the edges are tacked and hot asphalt is installed and compacted smooth. Skim patching is typically cheaper than R&R patching so it is important to know what type of patching is correct for the type of failures you may have. If a skim patch is installed over an area that has a subgrade problem it will fail very quickly taking you right back to where you started.

Q15: What are "Boni Fibers"?

Boni fibers are strands of strong fibers that are injected into hot asphalt when it is being blended at the hot plant. The idea behind them is that when the asphalt is installed and compacted the fibers will interlock through out the mixture reducing the chances of horizontal cracking like the expansion and contraction caused by hot and cold temperatures

Boni Fibers are typically installed at 2.5lbs or 5lbs per ton of asphalt. The myth that some contractors want you to believe is that these fibers will solve all types of cracking whether it’s a surface failure or a major subgrade problem. The truth is they work the best for preventing light surface cracking and to reduce the stretching effect that occurs when new asphalt is installed on steep grades. They cannot and will not fix subgrade problems or eliminate reflective cracking caused by installing new asphalt over cracked up old asphalt. Some contractors want you to believe they are a fix all because installing them in your new asphalt is far cheaper than the correct repair prior to paving. Our experienced staff will give you all the options that will actually fix the problem right the first time.

Q16: What is "Petromat"?

Petromat is actually a trade name that many use to describe a fabric that is installed over old cracked asphalt prior to paving. Simply paving over a crack will cause a condition called reflective cracking. This means the crack you paved over will reflect or grow right up thru the new asphalt surface. The best preventive for this is to install paving fabric prior to paving. The procedure requires the old surface to be clean and pot holes and low areas to be repaired. Once this is complete hot oil "AR 4000" or performance grade oil is installed with a boot truck, the fabric is installed immediately over the hot oil and it is broomed or compacted into the oil. This procedure can only be done correctly with a boot truck and the proper oil. Some contractors use a trailer mounted tack pot; this is not the correct method due to the fact that the proper oil cannot be sprayed out of a tack pot.

This procedure is not always cost effective for small areas or certain conditions but it is the best crack preventive available. Many contractors will neglect to give you this option because it is more costly and more difficult to install than Boni Fibers.