How paving speed affects asphalt quality

Asphalt paving is a process that requires a real professional to manage appropriately. Getting an even coat of asphalt across the surface of a driveway or parking lot requires that pavers take the time to understand the needs of a job fully and to set the paving speed at a reasonable and persistent rate, one that doesn’t cause any complications with the situation or with other types of building projects.

As a result, anyone getting an asphalt paving job performed in the near future must understand the influence of paving speed on the project. By knowing why paving speed matters – and what factors can change their project’s paving speed—homeowners and building managers can better understand the nature of paving speed and how to set a rate that is right for their job and their home. Just as importantly, they can avoid damaging their concrete in unexpected ways.

Why paving speed matters

Paving speed is a critical element of asphalt paving but one that is often misunderstood. For example, some amateurs may think that paving as quickly as possible is the best approach because it gets the job over more rapidly and saves them money on labor costs. That misconception is a massive problem, because fast paving isn’t always a great idea for most types of jobs. It may produce some positive effects, including specific paving textures, but typically produces a multitude of issues, including:

  • Uneven spread of asphalt across the driveway.
  • Bumps and dips across the surface of the pavement.
  • Poor quality drying pavement that may turn brittle.
  • Damage to the uniform mat beneath the pavement.
  • Damaged trucks if the pavement is pumped improperly.

However, slow paving speed is also not a great choice, because the pavement may subtly harden beneath the application tool and cause more difficulties. Even worse, a slow application also increases the length of the job and may create other complications with the process. However, slower or medium pouring speeds are typically preferable to fast ones because they are easier to maintain and keep consistent.

In fact, that’s one of the most essential elements of paving speed: consistency. Laying pavement at a single and sustained speed helps to ensure that it keeps a consistent level of moisture and depth. Just as importantly, a uniform pouring speed also helps workers spread pavement more evenly without having to worry about a sudden influx of asphalt that produces an unmanageable mess. Therefore, it is critical to understand just what kind of elements influence paving speed.

Factors that change how fast pavement is laid

Asphalt paving speed will vary depending on many different factors that can change rapidly throughout the day of a pour. These factors are sometimes caused by human error but may also occur if a machine malfunctions or starts running improperly or poorly.

In other instances, asphalt paving speed is affected by the quality of the pavement and how quickly paving experts can remove it from their trucks and mixers. Just a few of the many factors that you are likely to experience when pouring asphalt in your driveway include:

  • Inconsistent workers. Pavers who don’t properly manage the speed of their asphalt application may let it run too fast or too slowly, not paying proper attention to how this affects their paving work. These changes may also occur if somebody else takes over distributing the pavement and prefers a slightly different pouring speed than the original person.
  • Paving machine issues. Paving machines aren’t incredibly sensitive and typically run quite smoothly at most jobs. However, there is a chance that a minor issue with this machine could affect pouring speed. For example, somebody could bump the side of the unit and its brake unit. This change could cause its angle to alter in small or large ways. When this happens, the asphalt may pour out of the truck or mixer more quickly or more slowly.
  • Truck size and arrival times. Asphalt trucks often dictate the speed at which asphalt can be poured. For example, vehicles that are too small will run out of paving material more quickly than large trucks. As a result, new trucks will need to show up or switch spots with the empty ones. Poorly timed truck arrival could complicate the process and slow pouring speed to a grinding halt.
  • Rolling and compaction rates. The asphalt pouring out of the paving machine will have a certain consistency that may vary from job to job. As a result, the rolling and compaction rates of the pavement will vary depending on how quickly it can be poured. Thicker and more compact pavement will flow much more slowly, while more liquid-type asphalt will pour more rapidly.
  • Speed limiters. Many types of paving machines are fitted with what is known as a speed limiter. These devices are designed to control the speed at which a paver operates. For example, a quick flow may be hindered by one of these devices as a way of minimizing asphalt spread. In some instances, these devices may malfunction or get stuck in one position, affecting how well the pavement pours from the truck.
  • Mixing facility distance. Asphalt pavers typically get their wet mix from a facility that is often located far away from the pouring location. If you are 15 to 60 minutes away from a mixing facility, there’s a good chance that you might suddenly run out of asphalt during a job and have to wait around for more to show up to your site. And the new asphalt will be wetter than the pavement drying on the driveway.

These factors can complicate what should be a simple process and make it more difficult to execute. Thankfully, there are a large number of things that you can do to ensure that these problems don’t occur. Many of them require working directly with the paving company to ensure that your asphalt is applied evenly and smoothly across the surface of your driveway or parking lot.

Avoid these problems

Though your paving company should fully understand how to meet your pouring speed demands, you may also want to take steps to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. Thankfully, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that your paving experience is rewarding, including:

  • Plan the job well in advance, including how much asphalt you anticipate using.
  • Discuss the types of tools to be used and have an inspector ensure that they aren’t malfunctioning.
  • Find a provider who is as near to you as possible to avoid long waits.
  • Demand a specific pouring speed and make sure that it is written into your contract.
  • Stay on the site to make sure that things go smoothly with the job.
  • Talk to the manager or supervisor during the process to learn more about its progress.

The basic idea behind these steps is to work with the paving professionals—not against them—to achieve success. Trust that they know what they are doing and that they have your best interests in mind. They will reward you by working with you quite easily and creating a high-quality paving job that will make your asphalt look as gorgeous as possible in specific circumstances.

Talk to us about this concern today

As you can see, paving speed is a complex topic that requires a complete understanding of the nature of asphalt paving to get right. So if you are interested in paving your driveway or parking lot with asphalt and want to make sure that you get everything right, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more about this process and the factors that can affect its successful implementation.

With our help, you will better understand the nature of asphalt paving and can be better prepared to implement it on your property. Just as importantly, you can work to set a speed that works for your pavement type and your specific paving job. This will require the help of a professional to manage, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to set up an inspection appointment.

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