Paving a driveway is much more involved than the average person might expect. Whether they’re a homeowner looking for a new stretch of asphalt or a commercial property owner waiting for their asphalt to be paved, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Here at Sunrise Asphalt, we’re the Tucson and Southern Arizona asphalt pros – and we love to educate and inform folks about asphalt and what goes into its many processes. With that in mind, this time on the blog we’re going to dive deep and lay out exactly how to pave a driveway.

How to Pave a Driveway

Demo and Removal

The first step in installing asphalt is to remove any existing surface – whether it’s a crumbling, deteriorated asphalt drive or pavers or concrete. Using heavy machinery like bobcats or even forklifts, dump truckers, and front loaders when necessary. These break up the existing surfaces. Demo complete, it’s time to remove it, again using heavy machinery.


From there the old materials can go to asphalt plants for recycling for future use. Waste not, want not right? 


Grade and Slope

Now that the old materials have been demoed and removed, it’s time to set the stage for what comes next. First we prepare the surface to ensure the proper amount of water drainage. This is done using motor graders and transits, some with laser-guided and automatic technology, to make sure that when the driveway is completed, any water will run off the surface correctly and not sit and pool. (Water is the enemy, remember, that’s how potholes form!)


Enter the Sub Base

With the slope of the driveway built/corrected, it’s time for the most important part of the new asphalt driveway – the sub base! This is the surface on which all that comes next is built upon! It’s the stable support for new pavement, and the frost barrier to help reduce winter damage from freezing and thawing.


Sub base installation involves a few steps within it. Laying asphalt to the correct thickness, compaction, and ensuring base stability all are crucial for the sub base to be successful. If it’s not compacted correctly, the asphalt on top of it won’t last years as it should.


Binder and Surface Layer

After the sub base is finished it’s time to add the binder layer. The binder layer is going to be made up of large aggregate mixed with oil. This layer is all about strength and durability. With this installed the asphalt surface will have the strength it needs to perform.

After the sub base and binder layer have been installed, the support structure of the asphalt is taken care of. Now it’s time to put down the top layer of asphalt to provide a clean, smooth ride.

The New Asphalt

This top asphalt layer is made up of smaller aggregate, filler, and binder. The filler is typically sand or much finer pieces of aggregate, and the binder is oil. These smaller pieces make for a smoother surface, which creates a shiny surface that makes for a smooth ride.


Smooth The Transitions

In most cases where new asphalt driveways are being installed they need to connect to previously existing sections of driveways, curbs, roads, or parking lots. When this happens it’s up to the paving crew to make sure the new asphalt meets the old surface in a smooth transition. This will be done using butt joints and may need further work to ensure the grading is correct.


The Final Roll – Dun, Dun, Dun!

After all of that is complete there’s just one last piece of the puzzle. A final roll to smooth and compact the driveway from the butt joints through the stretch of asphalt to ensure no bumps, no stones are poking through the asphalt, and that everything is smooth as butter. This is done using a roller truck.

After all this is performed, it’s just up to let it cure, and then bing, bang boom your asphalt driveway is paved!


As you can see, it requires a lot of tools and equipment most folks don’t have access to so if you need a new asphalt driveway paved your best bet is to call in the professionals! The best asphalt in Tucson is made with Sunrise Asphalt expertise! Need your parking lot or driveway paved? You know who to call!


Call Sunrise Asphalt Today!